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Indian diaspora under scanner against IS influence

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Members of the Indian diaspora, including students are being kept a close eye on by Indian investigative agencies, for fear of growing IS influence.

According to sources quoted by DNA, more than 500 individuals living abroad have already been ‘surveyed’, and that too much before the Paris attacks on November 13. This was done on the Union Home Ministry’s orders to the agencies to keep the diaspora under observation. The states and Union territories have all been advised to do the same.

The advisory sent to Director Generals of Police read: “Though the IS has not been able to establish any significant presence in India, its success in radicalising some youth, attracting certain sections of local population or Indian diaspora to physically participate in its activities or the possibility of piggy-backing on terrorist groups operating in India have opened up the possibility of IS-sponsored terrorist attacks on Indian territory.”

“Between 2014 and 2015, more than 500 persons, who were either travelling to foreign countries or have gone there for permanent settlement, were kept under surveillance. We have also been keeping a tab on persons who have extended families abroad,” a source remarked.

The people investigated included both students and those settled abroad for work for more than two years. Of the number ‘surveyed’, atleast 40-50 youths, mostly from south Indian states, are said to have close IS links. They haven’t spoken to their families for more than a year, informed agencies.

“We have found out that 40-50 youths have communicated with members of IS through social media. There is high possibility that they might be in contact with the Indian diaspora as well,” added the official.

Last Friday, the home ministry met with senior state agency officials, where it said that the recent terror attacks in Paris was an indication of the IS aim to expand from its main operation in Iraq and Syria.

Afsha Jabeen also known as Nicky Joseph, is a 37-year-old woman who was deported by the UAE in September for allegedly carrying out IS recruits via social media. Turkey deported yet another girl, a 17-year-old girl from UAE, who had been going there to join the IS.

Reportedly, already as many as 23 Indian youths from have already joined IS, while 70 have been stopped. Intelligence officials say that six youths from India died while fighting beside the terror group.

Athif Vaseem Mohammad, Mohammad Umar Subhan , Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar, Saheem Farooque Tanki, Faiz Masood,all hailing from south Indian cities, and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid from UP, are the ones who died.

(Inputs from dna)                   

 

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“When I Took Over, It Was A Mess. They Were All Over The Place — All Over Syria and Iraq,” Claims Trump as IS Territory in Syria is Nearly Eliminated

Ciyager Amed, an official with the Kurdish-led SDF, said they were searching for any IS militants hiding in tunnels in a riverside pocket in the village of Baghuz. The SDF has not yet announced a victory over IS. 

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the last pocket of the Islamic State’s land in Syria would be liberated by U.S.-backed forces “by tonight.”

Trump previously announced the defeat of the group, but sleeper cells of fighters re-emerged. With no signs of fighting on Wednesday, however, the long-running battle to retake the militants’ last outpost in eastern Syria appeared to have reached its conclusion.

“The caliphate is gone as of tonight,” Trump said in a speech at a factory in Lima, Ohio, where military tanks are assembled.

End of caliphate

The complete fall of Baghuz would mark the end of IS’s self-declared caliphate, which at its height stretched across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

During his speech, Trump held up two maps of Syria — one covered in red representing territory held by the militant group when he was elected president in November 2016 and the other that had only a speck of red.

Donald Trump
Trump previously announced the defeat of the group, but sleeper cells of fighters re-emerged. With no signs of fighting on Wednesday, however, the long-running battle to retake the militants’ last outpost in eastern Syria appeared to have reached its conclusion. VOA

“When I took over, it was a mess. They were all over the place — all over Syria and Iraq,” said Trump, who has said the U.S. will keep 400 troops in Syria indefinitely.

For the past four years, U.S.-led forces have waged a destructive campaign against the group. But even after Baghuz’s fall, IS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.

The militants have been putting up a desperate fight, their propaganda machine working even as their hold on territory has been slipping away. The battle for Baghuz has dragged on for weeks and the encampment had proven to be a major battleground, with tents covering foxholes and underground tunnels.

FILE - A child stands on the back of a truck after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghuz, Syria, March 4, 2019.
A child stands on the back of a truck after being evacuated out of the last territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghuz, Syria, March 4, 2019. VOA

Tens of thousands of civilians

The siege has also been slowed by the unexpectedly large number of civilians in Baghuz, most of them families of IS members. Over past weeks they have been flowing out, exhausted, hungry and often wounded. The sheer number who emerged — nearly 30,000 since early January, according to Kurdish officials — took the Syrian Democratic Forces by surprise.

Ciyager Amed, an official with the Kurdish-led SDF, said they were searching for any IS militants hiding in tunnels in a riverside pocket in the village of Baghuz. The SDF has not yet announced a victory over IS.

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Associated Press journalists saw SDF soldiers loading women and children into trailer trucks on the hilltop over Baghuz, a sign that evacuations were still underway Wednesday. Black smoke was rising from the village.

On Tuesday, the SDF seized control of the encampment held by IS after hundreds of militants surrendered overnight, signaling the group’s collapse after months of stiff resistance. (VOA)