Over the last two months, Islamic State has carried out a series of large-scale and coordinated attacks in parts of Syria and Iraq. The spike in attacks has renewed fears about the group’s resurgence, a year after the collapse of its physical caliphate in eastern Syria and only six months after the killing of its former leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The heightened activity is especially worrying because the conditions that have made it possible appear set to worsen in the coming months.
Isis has never ceased attacks in the two countries since the loss of its territories, but the recent operations are particularly bad news. Aside from the attacks, for example, reports from the ground consistently suggest that the group has had greater visibility and mobility this year in villages and suburbs across Iraq and Syria.