The Islamic State has been taking advantage of Russian airstrikes in Syria, using the newfound air cover to maneuver and reposition fighters, according to a report released by IHS Janes’ Terrorism and Insurgency Center on Wednesday.
Despite losing ground in Iraq and being targeted by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria, the extremist group managed to carry out 935 attacks between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 2015. Russian warplanes began flying their first sorties in the country during the last week of September. According to the report, the spike in attacks equates to a five percent increase from the prior quarter.
Despite the increase in attacks, the average fatalities per attack–approximately–three remained consistent with the past year. Additionally, the Islamic State’s attacks also “continued to track above the average recorded over the preceding 12 months.” Number of attacks, however, does not equate to the group’s ability to hold territory. The extremist group has lost ground in both northern Syria and Iraq, though it has retained the ability to mount effective counter-attacks and raids in both areas. […]