Please note the key figures displayed below reflect data from 2017 only. The Islamic State (IS) was officially founded in June 2014 following the fall of Mosul and the merger of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, then known as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI), with the al-Nusra Front in Syria (figures presented below are for 2017-present only as ACLED has not yet covered 2014-2016). The merger of these groups and capture of Mosul allowed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to proclaim the group a “worldwide caliphate”. This was the beginning of the meteoric rise of the group. In July 2014, the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines swore allegiance to Baghdadi, while in October 2014 a number of militants in Libya pledged allegiance to IS and took control of Derna, making it the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to become part of IS’s caliphate. By the end of the year groups in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, and Yemen had pledged allegiance to IS, while by mid-2015 Boko Haram had also pledged allegiance to the group, expanding IS’s theoretical reach into the Lake Chad basin. By the end of 2015 militant groups in Gaza, India, Russia, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan, among others, had either pledged their allegiance to IS or were actively supporting the group in their respective countries or regions. Since the height of IS’s power in 2015, it has seen significant set-backs, punctuated by the recapture of Mosul and Raqqa in July and October 2017, respectively. This led the Iraqi and Syrian governments to each declare the group defeated in their respective countries. However, IS continues to be a significant threat in many of the regions into which it has spread, with IS-affiliated groups in Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, and the Philippines in particular still engaging in regular insurgent attacks against state forces and civilians. Despite taking almost all of its territory, the efforts against IS by both domestic states and regional forces have only managed to degrade it to a level similar to al-Qaeda, with both groups still possessing formidable regional franchises. The battle against IS will now continue inside Iraq and Syria in a different form as IS either splinters, as it has in Iraq with the rise of the White Flags, or its fighters join different groups. The fight against the group’s franchises outside the country and the danger of foreign fighters also continue to be present and potential sources of instability.

Key Figures

Time Period: 2014-01-01 (ongoing)
Number of Events: 25,691
Reported Fatalities: 124,885
Reported Civilian Deaths from Direct Targeting: 16,900
Number of Armed Active Agents: 183

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