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UN Report Finds IS Losing Territory, Revenue, And Recruits

Under assault from all sides, the Islamic State (IS) extremist group is losing territory, revenues, and the ability to attract recruits, a new United Nations report said.

The report circulated by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on February 6 warned, however, that IS militants were "partially adapting" to losses on the battlefield by encouraging followers to stage attacks in the West.

IS has lost "large numbers of fighters and territory," as it is increasingly encircled by armies bent on destroying it.

Iraqi forces are making strides in their drive to retake Mosul, while Syrian government forces, Kurdish militias, and rebel forces backed by Turkey are making headway into its territory in Syria.

IS finances are also on a decline, forcing the militant group to operate on a "crisis budget," it said.

Illicit oil sales, mainly from oil fields in Syria, dropped from $500 million in 2015 to $260 million last year.

The report warned that IS may try to tap new revenue streams by kidnapping journalists and aid workers for ransom.

The flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria has slowed considerably, because of security measures taken by Western governments and also due to the "diminished attractiveness" of the group, it said.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP