ISIS, losing territory in Syria, signals strategic shift

Taylor Luck reports: With the territory of the Islamic State cut by a third and Kurdish militias launching an offensive into its proclaimed capital of Raqqa, the group appears to be preparing its followers for a new, drawn-out phase of warfare.

In a rare recorded audio message released May 21, IS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani conceded that the group has lost territory to the US-backed international coalition and its allies, and vowed that IS will still strike the West even if it is “driven into the desert.”

He called on IS supporters across the world to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan, which starts in early June.

“We will make this month, inshallah, a month of calamities for the infidels everywhere,” said Mr. Adnani, also known as Taha Subhi Falaha. “This call specifically goes out to the supporters of the Islamic Caliphate in Europe and America.”

The announcement signals a shift away from the traditional military campaign that enabled IS to rapidly capture large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and establish the so-called “Islamic Caliphate,” a jihadist’s utopia where its ultra-extremist interpretation of Islam is enforced in all aspects of life. [Continue reading…]

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