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ISIS Shifting Strategy as Empire Dreams Crumble

With 'capital' of Raqqa lost, analysts say group is returning to 'underground insurgency'

(Newser) - US Central Command is holding off on official confirmation for now, but accounts on the ground appear to have confirmed the inevitable: ISIS has been routed from its de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria. The defeat means that the Islamic State, which once had grand plans for an expanding caliphate,... More »

'Capital of Terrorism' Has Fallen

ISIS has lost control of Raqqa, the seat of its caliphate

(Newser) - A commander with the US-backed Syrian forces battling the Islamic State group says the city of Raqqa has been liberated from Islamic State militants and that operations are underway to clear the city of land mines and extremist sleeper cells. Brig. Gen. Talal Sillo told the AP on Tuesday that... More »

ISIS' 'White Widow,' Ex-Punk Rocker, Dead in Strike

UK's most-wanted female terrorist became ISIS recruiter

(Newser) - ISIS has reportedly lost one of its more unlikely members: Sally Jones, a former punk singer from Britain who traveled to Syria to become a recruiter for the group in 2013. A British intelligence source tells the Sun that Jones was killed in June by a drone strike near Syria'... More »

When ISIS Is Beaten in Syria and Iraq, Then What?

Without a clear strategy, it's a 'dangerous situation,' says one analyst

(Newser) - The Islamic State appears to be nearly ousted in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and now US-backed forces have the last 2,500 ISIS holdouts trapped in the group's other stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, reports the New York Times . The militants are cut off from supplies, though the final... More »

Russia Suspects It Killed ISIS Leader Weeks Ago

Ministry says airstrike killed 30 commanders

(Newser) - The Islamic State might have been without a leader for more than two weeks, according to Russia's defense ministry. The ministry announced Friday that it suspects ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a May 28 airstrike near Raqqa, Syria, the BBC reports. After drones confirmed that ISIS... More »

US Could Soon Double Ground Troops in Syria

US military coming up with plans for up to 1K more troops in Syria

(Newser) - The US could double the number of ground troops it has in Syria over the next few weeks, the Washington Post reports. As Syrian Democratic Forces, comprised of Kurdish and Arab fighters, prepare for an assault on Raqqa—essentially the capital of the Islamic State in Syria—the US military... More »

Marines Join Fight to Retake Raqqa From ISIS

They'll provide support for local forces, special ops: officials

(Newser) - US Marines have joined the fight to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, defense officials say. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which departed San Diego in October, has been deployed to ISIS' de facto capital and will fire artillery guns, including M777 Howitzers, from an outpost... More »

Reports: British Fighter Killed Himself to Avoid ISIS Capture

20-year-old shot himself during Raqqa offensive, say Kurds

(Newser) - A 20-year-old British man who left his job as a chef to fight ISIS ended up killing himself to avoid capture, family members and Kurdish fighters say. Kurdish sources tell the BBC that Ryan Lock and four other fighters died after they were besieged by ISIS militants during an offensive... More »

UK Schoolgirl Who Joined ISIS Killed in Airstrike: Report

Kadiza Sultana reportedly killed in Raqqa in May

(Newser) - One of three British schoolgirls who fled to Syria to join ISIS in February 2015 has been reportedly killed in an airstrike—in the midst of her efforts to flee the country. ITV News reports the unverified news that Kadiza Sultana, 17, died when the home she occupied in Raqqa... More »

US Sending Choppers, 200 Troops to ISIS Fight

American troops will now be closer to the front lines

(Newser) - The US will deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq—upping the number from 3,870 to 4,087—and send Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against ISIS in Iraq, the first major increase in US forces in nearly a year. The uptick in US... More »

Hard Times Hit ISIS: Fighters' Wages Cut in Half

Campaigns targeting caliphate's revenues are apparently working

(Newser) - Islamic State militants have seen their monthly salaries cut in half down to $400 for foreign fighters and $200 for those in Syria, according to leaked documents out of Raqqa. The internal government documents were released in November or December, reports Time . "Because of the exceptional circumstances that the... More »

Airstrikes Pound ISIS in Raqqa

At least 32 fighters dead; unclear if France, Russia, or US is doing the bombing

(Newser) - Airstrikes hit several positions of the Islamic State group in its de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria on Sunday, killing and wounding at least 15 people, opposition activists and social media pages loyal to ISIS said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 blasts shook the... More »

France Pounds ISIS Stronghold for 2nd Night

Hollande urges others to join fight against 'terrorism factory'

(Newser) - France has fired new airstrikes on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, days after deadly attacks in Paris linked to the group. The strikes early Tuesday destroyed a command post and training camp, a military spokesman says. France conducted sweeping raids Sunday night on Raqqa , and the French president... More »

Is 'Jihadi John' Dead? US Drone Strike Targets Him

There's no confirmation yet on whether he was killed

(Newser) - After more than a year of US anti-ISIS airstrikes, "Jihadi John" might finally be history. The Pentagon says Mohammed Emwazi, the brutal militant known for decapitating Western hostages, was the target of a drone strike Thursday night near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, reports Reuters . Whether the... More »

ISIS Captures Jordan Pilot in US-Led Coalition

Jordan confirms capture of pilot

(Newser) - A warplane in the US-led coalition that is bombing ISIS in Syria went down near Raqqa today, the AP reports, and Jordan is confirming ISIS claims that one of its pilots has been captured by the militants. The pro-ISIS Raqqa Media Center published photos to Facebook showing a bleeding man... More »

ISIS Oil Sites Pounded for 2nd Day

FBI: Only 12 Americans fighting in Syria

(Newser) - The US-led anti-ISIS coalition has hit the militant group in the wallet for a second day, carrying out more airstrikes on the oil production facilities in eastern Syria believed to make millions of dollars a day for the group. Activists say that ISIS has started to cut back on the... More »

US Airstrikes Hit ISIS in the Wallet: Oil Fields

Reports: Compounds, checkpoints hit; terror arrests made; terror leader killed

(Newser) - American-led airstrikes hit the Islamic State in the wallet overnight and early today, targeting Syrian oil installations held by the terror group and killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital of Raqqa, fearing further raids, activists tell the AP . The latest... More »

7 Questions About the ISIS Airstrikes, Answered

Why Raqqa, and more

(Newser) - The US and five Middle Eastern allies have begun airstrikes against ISIS in Syria , with the military reporting 22 airstrikes in the country—though they didn't all target ISIS. Who else was in our crosshairs? The answer to that, and more:
  • Did Syria get a heads-up? It says it
... More »

US Pounds ISIS Targets in Syria

Airstrikes aimed at degrading group's capabilities

(Newser) - The US and five Arab countries launched airstrikes late Monday on ISIS targets in Syria, the Pentagon says. Using a mix of manned aircraft—fighter jets and bombers—plus Tomahawk cruise missiles, the strikes were part of the expanded military campaign that President Obama authorized nearly two weeks ago in... More »

Al-Qaeda's New Service: Complaints Dept.

Notice welcomes public concerns in Syria

(Newser) - Having taken over some of the civilian government in the Syrian city of Raqqa, al-Qaeda is ready to hear from the public. "Anyone who might have a complaint against any element of the Islamic state, whether the Emir"—a leadership position—"or an ordinary soldier, can come... More »

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