Rise of ISIS in Syria & Iraq

This item appears on page 17 of the August 2014 issue.
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In northern Iraq, members of the Al-Qaeda-sponsored jihadist group Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, took control of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, on June 10, then took Tikrit on June 11. More than 500,000 residents of Mosul left the city after the attack.

ISIS also gained control of the Iraqi cities of Tal Afar, Traybil and al-Qa’im and is contesting many others. Fighting has also been reported in Sāmarrā, only 68 miles north of Baghdad. 

From their base of operations in Raqqa, Syria, ISIS already controls much of northeastern Syria. The Sunni Muslim group has declared the areas under their control a caliphate, or Islamic state, and has stated that their goal is for the caliphate to stretch from the Mediterranean to Iran.

Though ISIS is currently active only in Syria and Iraq, their presence on the borders with Jordan and Turkey has increased tensions in the area. ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a hotel in Lebanon on June 27 that killed one person and wounded 11.

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has pledged to defend Baghdad and retake the captured cities, including Fallujah, which has been under ISIS control since January 2014. In late June, Iraqi military retook large portions of Tikrit. 

The US and Iran have both pledged assistance in the form of military advisors. Syrian air strikes hit ISIS-controlled border crossings on June 25. Kurdish militias have secured the Kurdistan region of Iraq against ISIS, including the city of Kirkuk, after Iraqi armed forces abandoned the area. The Kurds also control much of the northern Iraqi border with Syria.

Videos released by ISIS showed militants executing men believed to be captured Iraqi soldiers. The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights estimated the number of Iraqis killed since the ISIS advance to be more than 2,400.

The US Department of State warns against all but essential travel to Iraq. The embassy remains open.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

In northern Iraq, members of the Al-Qaeda-sponsored jihadist group Islamist State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, took control of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, on June 10, then took Tikrit on June 11. More than 500,000 residents of Mosul left the city after the attack.

ISIS also gained control of the Iraqi cities of Tal Afar, Traybil and al-Qa’im and is contesting many others. Fighting has also been reported in Sāmarrā, only 68 miles north of Baghdad. 

From their base of operations in Raqqa, Syria, ISIS already controls much of northeastern Syria. The Sunni Muslim group has declared the areas under their control a caliphate, or Islamic state, and has stated that their goal is for the caliphate to stretch from the Mediterranean to Iran.

Though ISIS is currently active only in Syria and Iraq, their presence on the borders with Jordan and Turkey has increased tensions in the area. ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a hotel in Lebanon on June 27 that killed one person and wounded 11.

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has pledged to defend Baghdad and retake the captured cities, including Fallujah, which has been under ISIS control since January 2014. In late June, Iraqi military retook large portions of Tikrit. 

The US and Iran have both pledged assistance in the form of military advisors. Syrian air strikes hit ISIS-controlled border crossings on June 25. Kurdish militias have secured the Kurdistan region of Iraq against ISIS, including the city of Kirkuk, after Iraqi armed forces abandoned the area. The Kurds also control much of the northern Iraqi border with Syria.

Videos released by ISIS showed militants executing men believed to be captured Iraqi soldiers. The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights estimated the number of Iraqis killed since the ISIS advance to be more than 2,400.

The US Department of State warns against all but essential travel to Iraq. The embassy remains open.