Syrian Unrest Breathes Life into Islamic State Militant Group
Officials are warning that Turkey's offensive into northeastern Syria might be giving the militant group Islamic State new life.
However, American counterterrorism officials say the group's next moves are unclear.
They warn that Islamic State, or IS, knows how to use conflicts in the area to make gains, as it did in Iraq.
The officials spoke on the condition that their identities would not be released.
IS has used the months since its defeat in Baghuz, Syria, to create "networks" of about 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, the officials said. The group is preparing for a long, violent insurgency.
But, it remains uncertain how IS will change its plans "in Syria in light of the Turkish incursion," a U.S. counterterrorism official told VOA.
Most IS military operations had targeted Kurdish security forces before Turkey launched its offensive. Now, some believe, it is possible that IS may try to free some of its 12,000 fighters being held by the U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces – or SDF. It may also try to free some of the IS wives and other family members in camps in the area. In September, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked his fighters to do just that.
It is unclear how many captured IS fighters may have escaped or been freed since American troops began to withdraw from northern Syria. Turkey and the SDF both claim IS prisoners are not being freed, but each has accused the other of releasing prisoners who agree to fight. Both sides reject these claims.
Conditions ripe for thriving IS
U.S. officials fear the unrest in Syria will help IS rebuild. The lack of safety for local populations, ethnic divisions and government corruption help IS grow.
These are all issues "that ISIS has... exploited," said the U.S. counterterrorism official.
And IS may be recovering from its recent defeat.
Safeguarding Syria's oil, infrastructure
There are fears IS may try to target oil fields now under the control of Kurdish forces. U.S. President Donald Trump, however, said they are secure.
"We secured the oil," Trump said during a cabinet meeting Monday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed Tuesday that some troops "remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields." The purpose of their presence "is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned," Esper told reporters Monday during a news conference in Afghanistan.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.news conference 新闻发布会
We have no fears, he told a news conference.
2.oil fields 油田
Few big new oil fields that are easy to reach and cheap to exploit have been discovered in recent years.
3.cabinet meeting 内阁会议
Back in London, the very next morning, she plunged straight into a lengthy Cabinet meeting.
4.government corruption 政府腐败
He told Australian radio that this tragedy is the fault of government corruption and incompetence.
5.But, it remains uncertain how IS will change its plans "in Syria in light of the Turkish incursion," a U.S. counterterrorism official told VOA.
in light of 根据；鉴于
This should be discussed fully in light of the developments in the university.
This might not be surprising in light of some of the behavior that triggered the global financial crisis.
6.It is unclear how many captured IS fighters may have escaped or been freed since American troops began to withdraw from northern Syria.
It is unclear 尚不清楚
It is unclear whether/if he likes the present.
It is unclear how much of the company he owns.
官员们表示，“伊斯兰国”组织在失去叙利亚巴古兹(Baghuz)据点后的几个月内，建立了大约1万至1.5万名武装分子的“网点” 。该组织正在为长期的暴力叛乱做准备 。
在土耳其发动进攻前，“伊斯兰国”组织的军事行动主要针对库尔德武装 。现在，一些人认为，“伊斯兰国”可能会设法解救12000名武装分子，他们现在被美国支持的叙利亚民主力量(SDF)关押 。它还可能试图释放该地区难民营中的一些激进分子的妻子和家庭成员 。9月，“伊斯兰国”领导人阿布·巴克尔·巴格达迪对他的追随者们提出了这一要求 。
尚不清楚美国从叙利亚北部撤军以来，有多少被俘的“伊斯兰国”武装分子已经越狱或逃脱 。土耳其和SDF都声称没有释放“伊斯兰国”俘虏，但双方都指责对方释放了同意战斗的俘虏 。双方都否认了对方的指控 。
美国官员担心叙利亚动乱会让“伊斯兰国”卷土重来 。当地居民缺乏安全保障，种族分裂和政府腐败加剧 。
人们担心“伊斯兰国”可能会试图袭击库尔德武装控制的油田 。不过，美国总统特朗普表示，他们是安全的 。
美国国防部长埃斯珀周二证实，一些军队“仍驻扎在靠近油田的城镇” 。埃斯珀周一在阿富汗的一次新闻发布会上对记者说，这一部署“是为了防止‘伊斯兰国’组织和其他可能从收入中获益的人靠近油田” 。