"Well beyond Iraq and Syria"
The Islamic State, despite being driven by Kurdish fighters from its one-time Syrian stronghold in Kobani last week, nevertheless is extending its reach well beyond Iraq and Syria, military officials and analysts warn -- represented, by some estimates, in nearly a dozen countries.
Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, delivered a grim assessment earlier this week in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, as he described how the group was surfacing in North Africa.
"With affiliates in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, the group is beginning to assemble a growing international footprint that includes ungoverned and under governed areas,” Stewart said.
ISIS continues to hold a wide swath of territory, bigger than the state of Pennsylvania, in its home base spanning parts of Iraq and Syria, propped up by more than 20,000 foreign fighters from at least three dozen countries. But the terror network’s tentacles, as Stewart indicated, are creeping into other nations; largely those with fragile governments.