• Threat Matrix

    Islamic State assaults Syrian regime forces in Homs province

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    The Islamic State launched an assault on Syrian regime positions in the Homs province earlier today. The so-called caliphate's propaganda arm and other outlets report that Syrian government forces suffered dozens of casualties. Bashar al Assad's men and their allies recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra in March. The two sides have repeatedly clashed in Homs, including near Palmyra, since then. Read more →

    Analysis: Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces in Iran’s game plan

    PMF operations commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis in Tal Afar airport, posted on Nov. 20.

    The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) have announced plans about securing the border with Syria and pushing into the country following the Islamic State's defeat in Iraq. There are discussions in Western policy circles that PMF's movement is part of a broader Iranian strategy to establish a land corridor stretching from Iraq to the Mediterranean. However, Iran already exercises freedom of movement via its air bridge to Syria, and is unlikely to risk hard-fought gains for building a sustainable land bridge. Tehran has other plans for Iraq and Syria, in which the PMF plays important roles. Read more →

    Pentagon confirms death of senior al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan

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    The Pentagon confirmed today that Faruq al Qatani, a senior al Qaeda leader, was killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan on Oct. 23. Qatani was suspected of planning attacks against the US. He established safe havens for al Qaeda in Afghanistan several years ago and also worked with the Taliban in the insurgency against the Afghan government, US forces and their allies. Read more →

    Abu Azrael spotted during PMF’s Mosul operation

    Photo 1. Abu Azrael and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.

    Iraqi Shiite militia strongman and Imam Ali Brigades commander, Abu Azrael, was spotted alongside the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as they make their way through the western axis of Mosul toward Tal Afar. The PMF is attempting to prevent the Islamic State’s escape to Syria through Tal Afar, which is 33... Read more →

    IRGC commander killed on eve of Aleppo battle

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    A major battle has commenced in Aleppo between the array of pro-government and opposition forces that include Sunni and Shiite jihadists. Another high-ranking former IRGC commander has been killed in Syria. Iranian media claim he died while undertaking "advisory mission," but Guard commanders are engaged in direct combat operations, as well. Read more →

    IRGC to expand Basij special forces

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    The Basij Fatehin special forces, an all-volunteer group established following the 2009 post-election protests that serves as a "model" auxiliary unit to the IRGC Ground Forces in Syria, will expand to boost the IRGC's operational capabilities. The Fatehin commander has proclaimed that the participation of this unit and IRGC-backed foreign proxies in Syria herald the formation of a global Basij, and that the Fatehin is "ready to conquer Israel." Read more →

    Town of Dabiq falls to Turkish-backed forces

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    The Syrian town of Dabiq, which has long been central to the Islamic State's apocalyptic messaging, was captured by Turkish-backed rebel forces on Oct. 16. Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield says that more than 1,300 square kilometers of territory along Syria's border with Turkey has been seized from the Islamic State since August. Read more →