A United Nations report revealed that several countries have expressed concern over the arrival of thousands of ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists to Libya.
The UN Security Council Committee concerning Libya said 7,000 – 15,000 mercenaries and terrorists from Syria have entered Libya through Turkey to fight alongside the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, against the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar.
The report found that ISIS boasts a few hundred fighters in Libya. One member state said that the number is as much as 4,000.
It expressed concern over reports that 7,000 – 15,000 fighters had been transported from northwestern Syria to the capital Tripoli through Turkey.
It is not yet clear whether these Syrian fighters were originally members of terrorist groups included on the Syria sanctions list.
The interim Syrian government in Turkey has helped send forces to Libya, it found.
The report added that ISIS was still capable of surviving, while al-Qaeda was taking root in local communities and in conflicts.
It noted that ISIS has increased its operations in conflict zones in Iraq and Syria, which is a cause of concern for member states.
It warned that these groups are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic in order to spread propaganda and gather funds. It added that should the world go into severe recession, then the international society may encounter more obstacles in combating terrorism and extremism.
“At the same time, the pandemic has made cross-border travel more difficult and targets more elusive, and the operational tempo of attacks has slowed discernibly in some regions,” read the report.
The overall number of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria is estimated at more than 10,000, the report revealed.
According to the report, "al-Qaeda exploits the tarnished ISIS brand and societal fractures to enhance legitimacy and gain local traction and recruits. The relationship between ISIS and al-Qaeda remains fraught and idiosyncratic, depending on regional dynamics.”