In adopting its resolution 2253 (2015), the Security Council expressed its determination to address the threat posed to international peace and security by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) and associated individuals and groups and requested that I provide an initial strategic-level report on the threat, followed by updates every four months. In its resolution 2368 (2017), the Council requested that I continue to provide, every six months, strategic -level reports that reflect the gravity of the threat, and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat.
This is my eleventh report on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security. The report was prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close collaboration with the Office of Counter-Terrorism, other United Nations entities and international organizations.
Against the background of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the report highlights a surge in ISIL activity in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and among some of its regional affiliates. ISIL has not been able to reconstitute its external operations capability, and the measures of Member States aimed at reducing the spread of the virus appear to have temporarily reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many States outside conflict zones. However, the pandemic’s impact on ISIL propaganda, recruitment and fundraising activities remains unclear. Socioeconomic fallout from the crisis could exacerbate conditions conducive to terrorism and increase the medium- to long-term threat, within and outside conflict zones.