In 2014, the Islamic State (IS) extremist group emerged as one of the most powerful jihadi groups, rivaling even Al-Qaeda.
The extremist Sunni group now controls vast swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq and boasts thousands of fighters — including many from Western Europe. An anti-IS coalition led by the United States has mobilized more than 60 countries, including several Arab states, against the group.
Yet after months of air strikes, IS militants are still threatening to take over even more territory and are continuing to attract foreign fighters and execute Western, Syrian, and Iraqi hostages.
While the chaotic and rapidly changing situation on the ground in Syria and Iraq makes it very hard to predict what will happen in the coming months, RFE/RL asked a number of analysts and experts to evaluate what might we expect to see from IS as we move into 201