Daesh has lost nearly all the territory it once controlled in Syria.
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Over several nights in September, some 10,000 men, women and children fled areas under Daesh (ISIS) control, hurrying through fields in northern Syria and risking fire from government troops to reach a province held by an Al-Qaeda-linked group.While the U.S.-led coalition and Russian-backed Syrian troops have been focused on driving Daesh from the country's east, an Al-Qaeda-linked coalition known as the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham has consolidated its control over Idlib, and may be looking to return to Osama bin Laden's strategy of attacking the West.While Daesh went on to carve out a proto-state in large parts of Syria and Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate in 2014, the Al-Qaeda militants allied themselves with other Syrian insurgent groups and cultivated grass-roots support by providing aid and other services to civilians.Brett McGurk, the top U.S. envoy for the coalition battling Daesh, has said Idlib is the largest Al-Qaeda haven since bin Laden's days in Afghanistan.While Al-Qaeda may yet regain the mantle of worldwide extremist militancy, it could also come under increasing threat in its bastion in northwestern Syria, as the forces arrayed against Daesh shift their focus to a new potentially worldwide threat.
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