In the past 24 hours, the Islamic State has conducted more than one suicide bombing against US-backed forces in Hajin, Syria. One Islamic State “martyr” blew himself up near the Hajin hospital, which became the scene of intense fighting earlier this week.
The US-led coalition has announced a new offensive against the Islamic State in eastern Syria. The offensive, named “Operation Jazeera Storm,” aims to clear the so-called caliphate out of territory north of the city of Deir Ezzor.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have entered the Old City of Raqqa after the coalition blew two holes in a historic wall the Islamic State was using as a defensive fortification. The SDF’s fighters first approached the Old City in mid-June, but the wall and heavy fighting in a nearby neighborhood impeded their advance. Meanwhile, an Australian jihadi is featured in a new propaganda video recorded in Raqqa.
The city of Tabqah and the surrounding area have fallen to US-backed forces. The Islamic State had controlled the city, the Tabqah dam, and a military airbase in the area since 2013-2014. The battle for Tabqah, which began with a surprise attack on Mar. 22, is a key part of the strategy to capture the self-declared caliphate’s capital of Raqqa.
Kurdish forces have entered the Iraqi town of Sinjar, which was seized by the Islamic State in August 2014. The offensive in Sinjar is part of a broader operation intended to disrupt the Islamic State’s supply lines running from Iraq into Syria.
Several al Qaeda ideologues have issued a fatwa saying it is “compulsory” to fight the Islamic State in Aleppo. The edict was issued after the Islamic State seized towns and villages from other rebel groups in the province.
After months of fighting for control of the Syrian border town, the Islamic State has withdrawn from Kobane in the face of advances by Kurdish forces and Syrian rebels.
The Islamic State has released a propaganda video featuring John Cantlie, a British photojournalist who is being held hostage by the group. Cantlie is made to rebut Western claims about the efficacy of airstrikes in Kobane, a town that sits on the border of Syria and Turkey.