ISIS Current Affairs - 2020

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Islamic State for first time claims ‘Province’ in India

The Islamic State (or IS, a Salafi jihadist militant group) for the first time has claimed that it has established a “province” in India. Although, ISIS began claiming attacks against Indian security forces in Kashmir since November 2017 but without any branch affiliation.

About the Claims

  • New ‘province’: claimed by Islamic State (IS) is called in Arabic as “Wilayah of Hind” (India Province), the dreaded terror outfit, (also known as ISIS and ISIL). The claims came after a militant with alleged ties to the group was killed in a clash between security forces and militants in the Kashmir region.
  • IS Claims: As per IS’s Amaq News Agency claims, the IS caused casualties on Indian army soldiers in Amshipora town in Shopian district of Kashmir. The claims by IS corresponds with killing of a militant named Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi in an encounter in Shopian. As per Military officials for more than a decade, Sofi was involved in other kashmiri militant groups before pledging allegiance to Islamic State.
  • Analysis:
    • According to Indian security experts analysis, claims by IS about establishment of a ‘province’ in Kashmir region, where it in reality IS has nothing resembling actual governance is unreasonable, but it should not be written off.
    • ISIS earlier did not elaborate on its branch’s geographical remit as mentioned in name of its new branch in India in a low-key announcement.
    • The low-key announcement of new branch is being seen as part of ISIS’ strategy to give impression of strengthening its global affiliations following territorial losses in Middle East (Iraq and Syria in April). In past, such a strategy has been highlighted by ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • Other Claims: IS also took responsibility for Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka (in which at least 253 people killed). This shows that IS has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks.

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Syrian Democratic Forces defeats Islamic State group

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by the US has defeated the Daesh [ISIS] by capturing the final shred of the territory of Baghouz in Syria. The forces have declared the end of the self-declared “caliphate” that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.

Even though the U.S.-backed forces have retaken nearly all the small pockets in Syria that were still under ISIS control, it doesn’t mean the end of ISIS. Reports suggest that many ISIS fighters have blended in with the local population and moreover the ISIS’ ideology remains potent and continues to inspire attacks in Europe and Afghanistan. Even though it is unlikely that there is a command structure directing terrorist attacks around the globe there are local groups which identify themselves as ISIS.

Timeline of ISIS

  • The chaos which followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, an al Qaeda offshoot established there and changed its name in 2006 to Islamic State in Iraq.
  • As the Syrian Crisis began to unfold the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent operatives to Syria for setting up a Syrian subsidiary. Baghdadi follows in 2013 and renamed the group as “The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”.
  • The group captured important cities like Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi renamed the group as Islamic State (IS) and declares a caliphate at Mosul in 2014.
  • In 2014 United States started building a coalition against ISIS and started air strikes to stop its momentum. It also started to extend support to the Kurdish militia to fight against the ISIS.
  • By 2016 the forces started recovering the territory captured by ISIS and the ISIS started facing catastrophic defeats.

The capture of Baghouz and declaration of elimination of caliphate has come as a final nail in the coffin of ISIS.

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