Though yet not beaten by the steadily mounting pressure from the US-led coalition, the Islamic State (IS) is feeling the pressure and is having trouble paying and mobilising its fighters.
A new report by a US military think tank, the Centre for Combating Terrorism, found fighters seeking false medical reports to escape frontline duties.
Citing a seized IS document, the report said that “a number of IS members had been seeking false medical reports from doctors in order to avoid frontline duty”.
The outfit issued several mobilisation calls to save threatened strongholds, such as the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, which, the report said, pointed to manpower problems. It added that a general amnesty issued in October 2015 for deserters showed the depth of the group’s manpower problems.
The report, which is based on internal IS document collected over a period of time, also show financial problems resulting in cuts in perks and pay.
“The clearest example was a salary cut of 50% announced for all fighters in a Raqqa province document issued sometime in November-December 2015,” the report said.
In a late 2015 document, IS boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi admitted to “hardships the IS was facing on account of the numerous forces arrayed against it”.
He spoke about an increase in “seditions” and “tragedies” but was confident of overcoming them, calling them the lot of the “victorious sect in every era”.
All this, however, does not mean that the threat is even close to over. “The documentary evidence confirms the current coalition approach has brought about significant losses for the IS and put it under pressure on multiple fronts, but any predictions of its collapse are premature,” said the report.