ISLAMIC STATE (ISIS) is now so fragile that its so-called Caliphate could be wiped out in a matter of HOURS, a top terror expert said.

ISIS So Weakened by Russian Airstrikes and Desertion it Could be Destroyed in HOURS

Source: Nick Gutteridge | Express.co.uk |

Western and more recently Russian airstrikes, chaotic leadership and mass defections have weakened the jihadi group to such an extent that it would be unable to repel even a small invasion force.

A terror analyst told Express.co.uk that the fanatics have vastly exaggerated their military strength and called on Western leaders to launch a co-ordinated fightback which would obliterate the hate group.

Dr Afzal Ashraf said ISIS has become its own worst enemy with its campaign of terror against the West, which has prompted an international backlash.

An abandoned outpost, right,  as Russian jets pound ISIS positions

A US-led coalition including Britain has launched airstrikes against the extremist group which have killed thousands of its fighters after being outraged by its barbarity.

And Dr Ashraf said that another atrocity on the scale of this summer’s Tunisia beach massacre could result in boots on the ground and an end to ISIS’ evil grip on power.

An ISIS compound in flames after an airstrike

Peshmerga forces mass for an assault on ISIS

A flag flies at an abandoned ISIS outpost

He said: “This mythical state will disappear in a matter of hours once the international community decides to act.

“It won’t take very long at all to drive them, if not out of all of Iraq or Syria, then certainly the majority of their territories.

“They will hide in towns, but I would say do not to follow them as they would use innocent civilians as human shields.

“Leave them in these isolated settlements and they will soon lose control.”

Two ISIS fighters hold a flag

Footage from a Russian drone showing the destruction of an ISIS headquarters

Smoke billows from an ISIS building after an airstrike

Last month it emerged that half of the group’s fighters have now been killed, whilst others are deserting en masse after their salaries were slashed.

Dr Ashraf, a researcher at the respected Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank, added that assessments of ISIS’ military capabilities have been vastly overplayed.

He said: “They have built up this superhero status because of the way the Iraqi army just fell apart when they confronted it. But that was not very much to do with their ability to fight, it was to do with the Iraqi army, which just doesn’t have a leadership that inspires. Once you’ve got a General running off you don’t expect the soldiers to stand and fight.

“As a result, they have given the impression that they are far more capable than they are. If we had serious forces fighting in a coordinated battle against these people they wouldn’t last very long at all.”

A convoy of ISIS fighters in jeeps

An ISIS fighter fires a rocket launcher

An ISIS sniper in a building

His comments came as it emerged that ISIS is now indirectly inspiring far more terror plots abroad than it is carrying out itself.

Research by the Henry Jackson Society showed that the jihadis have been involved in the planning of just one Islamist attack in the last 14 months.

Instead, three quarters of those plotting atrocities in the group’s name are inspired by online videos and had never had any contact with its fighters.

But Dr Ashraf said ISIS’ strategy of promoting ‘lone wolf’ attacks will turn out to be its biggest blunder yet.