The Islamic State's military setbacks in Syria and Iraq may prompt the extremist group to stage more attacks on Western, Russian, and other international targets, a top United Nations official has said.
UN Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman briefed the UN Security Council on his latest assessment of the threat posed by IS on June 8, saying the group has been militarily weakened by simultaneous assaults on its territory by U.S.-backed forces in Iraq and Russian-backed forces in Syria.
However, the progress is not yet irreversible, he said.
"Given its recent military setbacks, [IS] may be moving into a new phase, elevating the role of its affiliates, trying to move funds outside the current zones of conflict, and increasing the risk of complex, multiwave, and international attacks" like the ones in Paris and Brussels, he said.
He noted that the group's defeats in Syria and Iraq have led to a "marked increase" in the number of foreign fighters returning to their home countries in the West, Russia, and elsewhere, where they may be under orders to orchestrate attacks.