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.
The US-led coalition said in a statement that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The statement is at odds with the White House’s view that ISIS has been “almost completely destroyed.”
The White House declared on Apr. 4 that the “military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed.” But ISIS continues to operate in several areas of Syria, as well as in Iraq, which wasn’t even mentioned in the White House’s statement.
The helicopter that crashed is used to conduct search and rescue as well as Air Force special operations missions.
The report also notes that the US State Department has pressed the Iraqi government for the return of the tanks, but this has not happened.
On Nov. 17, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies and FDD’s Long War Journal held an event to discuss the findings from the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Coalition forces killed 15 senior and mid-level Islamic State leaders and commanders, including two external operations planners, in a series of airstrikes that have taken place in eastern Syria and Western Iraq over the past two months.
Abdul Hakim al Tatari, a Russian Tatar member of the former Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joined the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khurasan before migrating to Syria. He was later killed in the battles around Baiji, Iraq, just days after arriving to Islamic State-held territory.