Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Report: ISIL losing in Iraq, Syria; gaining in Libya

Report indicates armed group has suffered setbacks in Syria and Iraq but is trying to use Libya to expand in Africa.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group is losing ground in Iraq and Syria, but Libya may be the group's next key battleground, according to a UN report obtained by media.

The report on the threat of ISIL, also known as ISIS, which has not been publicly released yet, says the global threat emanating from the armed group remains high and continues to diversify.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks last year, UN Security Council asked for regular reports on ISIL from the Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

The latest report obtained on Tuesday is the second of its kind.

According to the findings, there has been military setbacks for ISIL in Syria and Iraq, two countries where it has seized territory.

Oil revenues the group earns in these countries significantly have also decreased as a result of the air strikes by the US-led coalition.

Ban says in the report that ISIL continues to earn money through taxation in the areas it controls and extortion of civilians in the two countries.

The report also suggests that ISIL is looking for potential alternative regions and one of those places is Libya.

There is a "real threat" from ISIL in Libya, the UN reports say, adding that the group is trying to use the country as a base to spread into other areas in Africa.

According to one UN Security Council member, which is not named in the report, ISIL has been raising money by selling oil from captured production facilities in Libya and using the country to distribute money to other groups around the world.

A unity government has been formed in Libya recently and replaced two rival administrations - one based in Tripoli, the other in the eastern city of Tobruk - that have been battling each other for more than a year.

The international community hopes that the unity government can bring together Libya's armed factions and tackle ISIL there.

However, the new government faces a tough task integrating Libya's complex web of armed groups and has failed to win support from key political and military factions in the east.

ISIL has presence along some 250km of Mediterranean coast on either side of Sirte in Libya and it is fighting to extend it further.

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