Syria

Analysis: The Islamic State hasn’t been defeated

President Trump claimed earlier today that the Islamic State has been "defeated" in Syria. But an unknown number of the group's top leaders, including presumably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remain alive. And there are likely thousands of fighters in both Syria and Iraq, where they operate as insurgents. Read more >

US Treasury adds Qods Force, Hezbollah officials to list of global terrorists

While the Treasury designation focuses on the four Iraqis' links to Hezbollah, which is described as "a terrorist proxy for the Iranian regime that seeks to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and destabilize the Middle East," it practically ignores the fact that one of them is the Secretary General of the Imam Ali Battalions, or Kata’ib Imam Ali, a key component of the Popular Mobilization Forces, an official military arm of the Iraqi state that reports directly to the prime minister. Read more >

Analysis: Jihadists in Syria react to Sochi agreement

Hay'at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), the most powerful jihadist organization in Idlib province, has finally issued a statement addressing the agreement reached between Turkey and Russia last month. HTS vows to continue waging jihad, and warns that it doesn't trust Russia's "intentions," but does not directly repudiate the Sochi accord. Read more >

Turkish-speaking jihadist group holds Assad loyalist captive in Latakia

A small Turkish-speaking jihadist faction known as Fursan al-Iman took part in a joint raid against the Assad regime in Latakia province on July 10. Yesterday, it posted a picture of an Assad loyalist who was captured during the operation. It appears from the group's social media pages that Fursan al-Iman has been operating in and around the Jabal al-Turkman region since January 2018. Read more >

Ansar al-Islam raids Assad regime position in Latakia

Ansar al-Islam raided an Assad regime military position in the Latakia province yesterday, killing more than two dozen Assad loyalists. The attack was widely celebrated on Sunni jihadist social media channels. Ansar al-Islam is a small jihadist group that originated in Iraq, but has fought in Syria for years. Read more >

Analysis: The Turkistan Islamic Party’s jihad in Syria

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Afghanistan and Syria has long operated as part of the Taliban-al Qaeda axis. Earlier this year, however, the TIP's Syrian branch sided with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) during its battles with other rebel groups. This infighting and related events have complicated the picture with respect to the TIP in Syria. One TIP-affiliated outlet claimed earlier this year that the group's senior management had sent new leadership from Afghanistan to Syria. Read more >

Baghdadi’s son killed fighting Syrian and Russian forces, Islamic State says

The Islamic State announced today that Hudhayfah al-Badri, the son of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has been killed during a raid on Syrian and Russian forces in Homs province. Al-Badri's death was announced via a graphic that is part of the Islamic State's "Caravan of the Martyrs" series, which has featured deceased jihadists from around the globe. The so-called caliphate has offered few details concerning al-Badri's purported death. Read more >

Jihadists try to rally opposition in southern Syria

Hay'at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and its jihadist rivals in the "Guardians of Religion" organization have called on all Muslims to resist the Assad regime's new offensive in southern Syria. However, severe infighting has limited the jihadists' ability to launch sustained operations against the Assad regime and its allies. Read more >

Analysis: Islamic State spokesman says ‘new phase’ of jihad has begun

In a lengthy audio message released on Apr. 22, Islamic State spokesman Abu-al-Hasan al-Muhajir claims that the US is retreating from Iraq and Syria. He argues that his group is in a better condition than when the US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011. He advises the Islamic State's members that they should prepare for the war against the Russians and Iranians, who are filling the void left by the Americans. Read more >