LONDON: Heavy losses for jihadist and militant groups in Syria and Iraq fuelled a 33-per-cent drop in global terror attacks in 2018, with fatalities falling to a 10-year low, defence analyst Jane’s said on Wednesday.

The downswing in attacks led to civilian fatalities falling by more than a quarter, according to the annual Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC) Global Attack Index released by business information provider IHS Markit.

“Over the course of 2018 JTIC recorded a worldwide total of 15,321 attacks by non-state armed groups, which resulted in a total of 13,483 non-militant fatalities”, said Matthew Henman, head of JTIC.

The annual civilian toll from terror attacks is the lowest since JTIC began collecting “comprehensive event data” in 2009.

IS attacks decreased by almost three-quarters, although the group was still the deadliest in the world.

“Islamic State territorial losses were a central reason for decreasing attacks in Syria,” said Henman.

“Another key element in the downturn in violence in Syria was the increase in government control of territory,” he added.

Losses in Iraq also “noticeably reduced the group’s capacity to operate territorially, switching instead to lower intensity insurgent operations”.

Afghanistan displaced Syria as the most dangerous country, with attacks rising by almost one-third.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2019