World focus: ISIS is down but it is not out yet

The 'caliphate' is no more as the proto-state declared by ISIS has been reduced to a mere scrap of land in the Syrian town of Baghuz. But while the group is down, it is not yet out for the count. Arvind Jayaram tracks its rise and fall, and the threat it still poses.

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The occupation of a third of Iraq's territory by some estimates and large swathes of Syria emboldened the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to declare in June 2014, from the ramparts of the famous Grand Mosque in Mosul, a caliphate roughly the size of Britain.

Thus began a reign of terror as ISIS embarked upon a systematic campaign to spread its virulent version of Islam in a fashion that would shock the world into action.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline World focus: ISIS is down but it is not out yet. Subscribe