The lack of manpower for ISIS has become increasingly desperate as they now only send elderly men and children to conduct suicide missions.

At the height of the so-called “Caliphate”, ISIS would proudly upload videos to their social media accounts of men at peak age and fighting condition going on ‘martyrdom’ operations. However, in recent times, ISIS has been on the retreat from successful offensives by the Syrian Army, Turkish-led forces and Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, and by Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq.

Careful research by Al-Masdar’s Ibrahim Joudeh has discovered that in recent months around 80% of suicide bomber from ISIS has been elderly men and children, especially in Iraq.

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Days ago, Major General Rupert Jones, deputy commander for the Combined Joint Task Force coalition, revealed that ISIS are being killed “at a rate they simply can’t sustain”.

The closing of borders between formerly ISIS-controlled territories and Turkey, who allowed jihadists to pour into Syria and Iraq, has affected recruitment to the terrorist group and has meant that they cannot replenish their manpower at the rate that they are being exterminated.

So desperate is the manpower situation in ISIS that besides the elderly and children, they are now reaching into the stocks of mundane positions such as those in its media service to conduct suicide operations.

Abu Zubair al-Oulayji, a media worker for ISIS, is one such example of a suicide bomber used. He conducted a suicide mission in Wadi Hajar, near Iraq’s Mosul.

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Deputy-Editor at Al-Masdar News, Lecturer at Charles Sturt University and Researcher at Western Sydney University. MA in International Relations. You can follow on Twitter: oulosP

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