What has happened to its leaders, fighters and followers?
The fate of the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains a mystery. The US government's top experts strongly believe he is alive and possibly hiding in Iraq, US sources recently said. Other top-echelon leaders have been killed in air strikes. Thousands of Islamic State insurgents and civilian followers have also been killed and thousands more captured. An unknown number remain at large in both Syria and Iraq. Iraq is putting on trial, imprisoning and often executing IS detainees. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holds many hundreds of Islamic State fighters and followers, but the numbers have ballooned as the SDF advanced into the area near Baghouz. The SDF said over the past two months, more than 60,000 people had left the Baghouz enclave, including 29,000 surrendering Islamic State supporters, 5,000 of whom were fighters. Many low-level local operatives have been released in Syria. The SDF complains that Western states are reluctant to take back the foreign fighters, who are widely seen as a security threat at home but who might be hard to legally prosecute. (Reuters Photo)