Islamic State/Daesh – On the 14 May 15, the Islamic State (ISIS) media company Al-Furqan released a new audio speech by its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, titled "March Forth Whether Light or Heavy." In the speech Al-Baghdadi issued a general call to arms to all Muslims, urging them to immigrate to ISIS territories and to fight ISIS's enemies, whom he called the enemies of all Muslims. Al-Baghdadi directly addressed several issues related to current events, primarily the campaign being waged in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels. The link to the speech, on Justpaste.it, was disseminated by ISIS supporters via Twitter. Below is a summary of Al-Baghdadi's speech, followed by the English translation of it provided by ISIS. Al-Baghdadi begins his speech with an introduction replete with Koranic quotes stressing the importance and obligation of fighting the enemies of Islam and dying as a martyr for it. Citing the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who, Al-Baghdadi says, waged jihad throughout his entire life, he stresses that jihad and fighting are obligatory for every Muslim. Al-Baghdadi adds that participation in battle and willingness to die for Allah are aimed at testing the believers and rewarding them. He then goes on to attack the enemies of Islam, whom he identifies mainly as the Christians and the Jews, quoting scripture in order to emphasize that they are perpetual foes of the Muslims who wish to harm them and to cause them to leave their religion. Urging all Muslims to join the Islamic State in its battles, he says that its enemies are in fact the enemies of all Muslims, as the Islamic State is but the "spearhead" in this war. "The Crusaders," i.e. the Western powers, will soon target all Muslims, he claimed. Bluntly underscoring his call to arms and his statement that actively supporting ISIS in its war is obligatory, he states that Islam is not a religion of peace, but rather "Islam is the religion of war." Next, Al-Baghdadi lashes out at the regimes and rulers of the Arab and Islamic countries, accusing them of being nothing but the slaves of the Western powers, which he says use them to oppress the Muslim peoples. He speaks at length against Saudi Arabia, pointing at the Saudi monarchy as one of his archenemies. Calling the Saudi royal family allies of the Christians and the Jews, he says they are traitors to Islam. He taunts the Saudis, saying that their long-time ally, the U.S., has exchanged them for Iran. In their frustration, he says, the Saudis launched an attack on the Shi'ites in Yemen, the Iranian-backed Houthis. This, he says, is hypocrisy, since the Saudis have never done a thing to assist downtrodden Muslims elsewhere, from Syria to Burma to Africa, and, most prominently, in Palestine. Saudi Arabia's Operation Decisive Storm is nothing but the "kick of a dying man" aimed at regaining the appreciation of its masters in the U.S., he says, and urges the Sunnis to see the Saudis for their true traitorous nature and to understand that their only defender is the Islamic State. Al-Baghdadi also talks about the situation in Anbar province in Iraq, calling upon its Sunni residents to return to their lands and villages and to embrace Islamic State rule. In the final part of his speech, Al-Baghdadi addresses the Islamic State fighters. Beginning with those in Iraq, to whom he speaks at length, he calls on them to be steadfast and strong and to persist in their fighting, and praises them for their achievements in the war against the Iraqi government forces and the Shi'ite militias. He also addresses Islamic State soldiers in the other countries, beginning those in the Sinai province; these he commends for striking fear amongst the Jews and expresses his hope to meet them in Jerusalem "very soon." Praising Islamic State fighters in the various areas of Syria, in Libya, and in Algeria and Tunisia, he gives special mention to those in two new Islamic State provinces – Khurasan, that is, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and West Africa. Another special mention is given to the Islamic State fighters in Yemen, whom he congratulates on their recent advances against the Shi'ites.
Islamic State/Daesh/Iraq/Syria – The Daesh group Friday (22 May 15) kept up a counter-offensive that has rocked US strategy, seizing a key border crossing after capturing an Iraqi provincial capital and a renowned Syrian heritage site it was reported on the 23 May 15. The jihadists, who now control roughly half of Syria, reinforced their self-declared trans-frontier "caliphate" with the capture of the Al Tanaf to Al Walid crossing on the Damascus-Baghdad highway. It was the last border crossing with Iraq still held by the Damascus government. Except for a short section of frontier in the north under Kurdish control, all the rest are now held by Daesh. The jihadist surge, which has also seen them capture Anbar capital Ramadi and the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra during the reporting period, comes despite eight months of US-led air strikes aimed at pushing them back.
Islamic State/Daesh/Iraq – 361 COMMENT: The IS latest victory in Anbar Province with the taking of the city of Ramadi is a huge blow to the Iraqi forces and the American effort to push back IS. Although some see this as the US strategy dead in the water others believe that it is just a setback. There are many problems associated with this latest IS victory none less than the inability of the Iraqi Army to hold its ground against their enemy. Along with the propaganda and moral that the IS now have in the wake of the capture of Ramadi the accumulation of more equipment will work in their favour. It is believed that the IS can now add more tanks, artillery, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC’s), missile launchers, soft skin vehicles along with weapons and ammunition. Much of this should have been destroyed before the army was routed from Ramadi. But will happen now? The IS will consolidate its position in and around Ramadi and will bolster up its defences whilst making plans to move forward towards Falujah where they will be able to join the dots and then Baghdad. The only force that can actually fight with any conviction are the Shia militias which are under Iranian control and what the American want to be under the control of the Iraq I government. But without these militias there is no effective fighting force in Iraq. The American contingents who are training the Iraqi Army may have to reassess their training schedule or bring in more trainers. This may not be a good thing especially as the IS will have their sights set on Baghdad where the Americans are along with its embassy. The possibility of terrorist cells being placed into Baghdad cannot be ruled out. There will probably be an upsurge in terrorist activity in the Iraqi capital which will wear down and terrorise the people of Baghdad. Attacks on the capitals perimeter are likely to start soon keeping up the momentum. Many are stating that airstrikes are not enough, but coalition forces will not deploy troops on the ground. This is currently a Middle East problem and unless they are defeated by Middle Eastern forces then Iraq will in time diminish as a country and be subsumed into the IS Caliphate. The retaking of Mosul will now have been put on hold whilst the coalition gets its heads together and comes up with a new plan. As the Islamic State moves forward towards Habbaniyah military base which will be used either as a staging ground for Shia militias to retake Anbar or IS to use as a launch site for an attack on Baghdad, the coalition must realize that the plan one is not working. Although the coalition claims they are not losing, they are certainly not gaining. The Sunni politicians in the Iraqi government need to pull together in order to give the Iraqi people a cohesive government and not use this tragedy as a way of gaining more political ground and powers. The past is the past it is time to move forward for the sake of Iraq and its people. COMMENT ENDS
Islamic State/Daesh/Tajikistan – When Gulmurod Khalimov was training in the U.S., all those who were training him assumed that he was a “moderate” who would be a reliable ally against the “extremists.” To have assumed anything else would have been “Islamophobic.” And now he is vowing to come to the U.S. again to murder Americans for Allah. “Chief of elite Tajik police unit defects to Islamic State, vows jihad against enemies,” it was reported in the Jerusalem Post on the 28 May 15: The US-trained commander of Tajikistan’s elite police force has defected to Islamic State, he said in a YouTube video, and his former unit will issue a statement condemning him, media said. Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov commanded the Central Asian nation’s special-purpose police known as OMON, used against criminals and militants. He disappeared in late April, prompting a search by Tajik police. He reappeared Wednesday, vowing to bring jihad to Russia and the Unites States as he brandished a cartridge belt and sniper rifle, in a professionally made, 10-minute video clip posted in social networks. “Listen, you dogs, the president and ministers, if only you knew how many boys, our brothers are here, waiting and yearning to return to Tajikistan to re-establish Sharia law there,” he said, addressing Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon. Rakhmon has run Tajikistan, the poorest post-Soviet nation that neighbours Afghanistan, since 1992. He used Russian support to crush Islamist guerrillas in a 1992-1997 civil war and tolerates little dissent in his country of 8 million. “We are coming to you, God willing, we are coming to you with slaughter,” said Khalimov, a 40-year-old native of the Tajik capital Dushanbe. He spoke in Russian, sitting in front of a palm tree, and sported a new beard. It was not clear which country he was in. Khalimov is paraphrasing Muhammad, who is depicted in a hadith saying: “Do you hear, O group of Quraysh? By Him in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, I have come to you with slaughter!” (Musnad Imam Ahmad 7036); Muhaddith Muhaqqiq Ahmad Shaakir classified this hadith as sahih, i.e, reliable. Tajik police could not be reached for comment. OMON police plan to issue a statement condemning Khalimov, several officers who had served with him told the Tajik service of US-funded Radio Liberty. Khalimov said he had been trained by elite Russian “spetsnaz” forces in Moscow and US Special Forces in America. “Listen, you American pigs, I’ve been three times to America, and I saw how you train fighters to kill Muslims,” he said, patting his rifle. “God willing, I will come with this weapon to your cities, your homes, and we will kill you.” He lambasted Tajiks working in Russia. “You have become the slaves of infidels,” he said. 361 COMMENT: It is probably not known in open source material but this latest recruit could become a huge asset to the IS. His training experience could well be passed on to those who would be deployed in various countries to set up cells and train future terrorists. His past experience and his training is of great importance to the IS and for their future operations. COMMENT ENDS
Iraq – The Long War journal stated on the 3 May 15 that radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr threatened to attack US personnel inside Iraq and beyond if the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would have recognized Kurdistan and Sunnis in western Iraq as their own independent countries. Sadr, whose Iranian-backed militia battled US and Coalition troops in Baghdad and central and southern Iraq during the occupation of Iraq, released a statement on his website on the 29 Apr 15 calling for attacks on US interests if Congress passed the National Defence Authorization Act for 2016. The statement was translated on the Facebook page Shiʿa Jihadica: Clericalism, Militias, and Messianism. Sadr described the bill as “sectarian” and said its implementation would lead to “the beginning of the breakup of Iraq.” He called on the Iraqi government and people to oppose the bill, which also calls for 25 percent of $715 million in funding to battle the Islamic State to go to Sunni tribes and the Kurdish government. He then levelled a direct threat to attack US interests inside and outside of Iraq. “If the time comes and the proposed bill is passed, we will have no choice but to unfreeze the military wing that deals with the American entity so that it may start targeting American interests in Iraq and outside of Iraq when possible,” Sadr said. “If America persists then it will cease to exist,” Sadr concluded. The US House of Representatives ultimately removed the provision that called for the recognition of Kurdistan and Sunnis in western Iraq, but kept language that authorized direct funding of the two groups in the bill. Additionally, language that required the Iraqi government to end support for and cooperation with Shiite militias, many which are backed by Iran, was removed. While Sadr’s threats may be considered idle to some, he has the capacity strike at US forces inside Iraq. And with Iran’s backing, he could target US interests in the region. Sadr controls two militias inside Iraq: the Saraya al Salam, or Peace Companies (often called the Peace Brigades), and the Liwa al Yaom al Mawood, or Promised Day Brigade. Both groups are offshoots of the Mahdi Army, Sadr’s militia that fought US forces in pitched battles in Baghdad and central and southern Iraq between 2004 and 2008. Sadr purportedly disbanded the Mahdi Army in the spring of 2008 after US forces battled the group in Baghdad’s sprawling neighborhood of Sadr City, and created the Promised Day Brigade. Sadr created the Peace Companies after the Islamic State overran most of northern and central Iraq beginning in June 2014. In February 2015, he purportedly suspended the activities of the two militias, however the groups have been spotted fighting in Iraq since then. Sadr also frequently claimed to have halted the activities of the Mahdi Army during the US occupation, but these ceasefires rarely held. While Sadr has denied receiving Iranian support, the US military and government consistently stated that his forces have the backing of Qods Force, the special operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. US military officials called the Iranian-backed militias who battled American forces up until 2011, such as Hezbollah Brigades and Asaib al Haq (League of the Righteous), the Mahdi Army Special Groups. With the backing of Qods Force, Sadr’s militias maintain the ability to strike US interests in the Gulf region and the Levant. Iran backs multiple Shiite militias that are fighting the Islamic State, all of which are hostile to the US. One of these groups, Hezbollah Brigades, is listed by the US as a Foreign Terror Organization, while senior leaders in others, such as Asaib al Haq, Kata’ib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Brigade), and Harakat Nujaba, are listed by the US as Specially Designated Global terrorists. Additionally, the Popular Mobilization Committee, the Iraqi-government sanctioned body that organizes the Shiite militias, is led by a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who the US described as “an advisor to Qassem Soleimani,” the commander of the Qods Force. [See LWJ report, US begins airstrikes against Islamic State in Tikrit, supports Shiite militias.]
Car bombs were detonated through car parks at two high-profile Baghdad hotels just before midnight, killing at least nine people, reports claimed on the 29 May 15. One of the bombs exploded at the Ishtar, shattering windows of the recently renovated hotel. The Ishtar is a popular site for wedding celebrations, the area which also includes a club and the Palestine hotel is normally crowded with people on Thursday nights. Another blast hit the car park of the Babylon hotel, another upmarket and recently refurbished hotel that overlooks the Tigris River in the Jadriya neighbourhood. Police said security forces found another car bomb (possibly a 3rd) in the Babylon's car park and defused it. A years-old midnight curfew had been lifted in Feb 15 after Iraqi forces retook areas around Baghdad from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group and a huge car bomb-making cell was dismantled. Attacks have continued since but are less frequent than the previous year. The Babylon and Sheraton were hit in coordinated attacks in January 2010, together with the Hamra, which never reopened. 361 COMMENT: This may well be an upsurge in activity as IS attempts to make the city nervous prior to launching probing attacks on the capital. COMMENT ENDS.
Iran – Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on the 20 May 15 Tehran would not accept "unreasonable demands" by world powers during negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, and ruled out letting inspectors interview its atomic scientists. The comments, reported on state TV and later by Al-Arabia newspaper, were the latest in a series of forthright statements on inspections in the countdown to a 30 Jun 15 deadline to resolve a decade-old standoff over Iran's nuclear work. "We will never yield to pressure ... We will not accept unreasonable demands ... Iran will not give access to its (nuclear) scientists," Khamenei said according to the state TV report. Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any "extraordinary supervision measures" over nuclear activities and said military sites, could not be inspected. The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is working with the IAEA to clear up any suspicions. Western officials say Iran must step up cooperation with the IAEA if it wants to reach a broader diplomatic deal with world powers that would gradually end crippling financial and other sanctions on the oil producer. Iran reached a tentative deal with the powers on the 2 Apr 15 to allow U.N. inspectors to carry out more intrusive, short-notice inspections under an "Additional Protocol" to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But there have been sharply differing interpretations from both sides on the details of that access.
Israel – Two Israeli policemen were injured in annexed east Jerusalem on the 20 May 15 when they were hit by a car driven by a Palestinian, who was then shot dead. It was the latest in a string of lone-wolf attacks by Palestinians using their cars to ram pedestrians or police, in a trend which began in Jerusalem in Oct 14 but has also spread to the West Bank. The incident took place in A-Tur on the Mount of Olives, with Luba Samri, the police said that the driver had veered off the road and struck two border policemen. Another border policeman opened fire at the terrorist and neutralised him. There was no immediate information on the driver's identity, other than the fact he was a resident of east Jerusalem.
Jordon – On the 31 May 15 it was reported that Border Guards destroyed two vehicles trying to illegally enter the Kingdom from war-torn Syria. According to a Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army statement, Border Guards also destroyed two other vehicles that arrived on the scene from the Jordanian side to assist the infiltrators. The army blocked the area from all directions and dealt strictly with the violating cars according to the rules of engagement, the statement said. Army units deployed in the area engaged in a shoot-out with the smugglers, which led to the destruction of the four vehicles adding that large amounts of narcotics and weapons were found in one of the burnt vehicles.
Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people suspected of belonging to Islamic State (IS) and foiled several plots, the interior ministry announced on the 28 Apr 15. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the arrests had taken place since Dec 14 and that all but five suspects were Saudi nationals. The group had set up training sites in a remote area of the al-Qassim region and planned suicide bombings, it added. Among the alleged targets was the US embassy in the capital, Riyadh. The Saudi interior ministry statement quoted by SPA called IS a "deviant group" and said its supporters were seeking to "undermine the security of this country". The ministry said those arrested included 65 members of a cell involved in a plot to target residential areas, and operations to incite sectarian sedition. Another cell, which included 15 Saudis, was testing car bombs and planning attacks on security headquarters, soldiers and residential areas. Two Syrians and a Saudi were also allegedly intending to launch a suicide car bomb attack on the US embassy before two of them were arrested in mid-Mar 15. US diplomats halted all consular services for a week from 15 March at the embassy and the consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran, citing security concerns.
Earlier on the 28 Apr 15, the interior ministry announced that police had arrested a suspected IS operative wanted for shooting dead two police officers in Riyadh earlier this month. Nawaf al-Enezi, a Saudi citizen, was detained after police received a tip-off that he was at a hideout about 100km (60 miles) east of the capital. He was wounded by police gunfire during the operation. Another suspect in the shooting of the policemen was arrested last week. He allegedly confessed that he was following orders from IS commanders. Last November, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on supporters to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia, but also referred to the country as "Bilad al-Haramayn" - the land of the two holy mosques, meaning Mecca and Medina. He set out a target list which included the ruling Saud family, Western expatriates, and the country's Shia minority population whom Sunni jihadists view as heretics. The following month, IS supporters said they had shot a Danish man in his car in Riyadh as he left work. A Canadian man was stabbed a week later in Dhahran.
Saudi Arabia – The Saudi Interior Ministry said that a patrol commander had been killed in mortar fire near the Yemeni border as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its military aggression against the neighbouring Arab state reports stated on the 30 Apr 15. The Saudi soldier was killed on the 30 Apr after the regime’s patrol came under fire in the south-western Jizan province, near the Yemeni border, according to Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry spokesman, Mansour Turki. The Saudi soldier was killed in the Jalah area in the Harath district.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed in an online statement that it carried out a deadly suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province of Qatif on the 22 May 15. The statement said "the soldiers of the Caliphate" were behind Friday's attack by a suicide bomber "who detonated an explosives belt" in the mosque in the Shia-majority city of Qatif. The group identified the bomber as Abu Amer al-Najdi, and published a picture of him. Earlier on Friday, the Saudi interior ministry said in a statement that a suicide bomber had set off an explosion during weekly prayers at a Shia mosque, leaving at least 21 dead. "It has been established that an individual detonated a bomb he was wearing under his clothes during Friday prayers at Ali Ibn Abi Taleb mosque in Kudeih in Qatif province," the statement, which was carried by the official SPA news agency, said. The ministry spokesman called the attack an act of terrorism, vowing that "Security authorities will spare no effort in the pursuit of all those involved in this terrorist crime". The community accounts for between 10 to 15 percent of the total population. The attack was the first to target the Shia community in Saudi Arabia since November when gunmen killed at least eight people in an attack on a religious anniversary celebration, also in the east.
A suicide bomber has blown himself up in the parking lot of a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia's eastern city of Damman, killing four people, according to the kingdom's official news agency that reported the terrorist incident on the 29 May 15. The Saudi Press Agency said the bomber was parking his car at the entrance of the Imam Hussein mosque in the port city, home to a large Shia population, during Friday prayers. It said guards approached the car as it was parking and that the driver detonated a bomb. It was unclear if the bomber was among the four dead. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have claimed responsibility for the attack. 361 COMMENT: There is a pattern forming here. By targeting Shia religious areas ISISL are attempting to exploit the bitter rift between the Sunni and Shia communities. The Shia will protest that the Sunni government are not doing enough to protect the Shia community. COMMENT ENDS.
A Saudi border guard was killed and seven others were wounded when shelling from across the border in Yemen hit their patrol route along the southern border of Saudi kingdom. The attack occurred around 1830 hrs on the 30 May 15 when according to the Saudi interior ministry, shells “from across the border with Yemen” struck the border guards as they patrolled Jazan region’s Harth municipality. The Jazan region had been the source of fatal shell fire before. This latest attack brings the number of both Saudi military personnel and civilians killed to 31 since the start of a Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore the legitimate government of Yemen’s exiled President Hadi.
Syria – US Special Forces soldiers have killed a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group during a raid carried out in eastern Syria, the US secretary of defence said and was reported on the 16 May 15. Pentagon chief Ash Carter said in a statement on Saturday that the raid in al-Amr had killed Abu Sayyaf when he "engaged US forces". Reports said two US helicopters had taken part in the operation at an oil field east of the city of Deir Az Zor. Activists from the area say at least six people from ISIL were killed, including at least two of Arab nationalities; a Saudi and an Iraqi. It was believed the operation may have taken place overnight or early Saturday. The US put the number of ISIL deaths at about a dozen, and said no US soldiers were killed during the incident. Abu Sayyaf was involved in planning ISIL's military operations and had helped direct its oil, gas, and financial operations. His wife was captured during the operation and is currently being detained by the US military in Iraq. Another White House official, Bernadette Meehan, said a Yazidi woman kept as a slave by Sayyaf and his wife was rescued during the raid, which was authorised by US President Barack Obama. "This operation was conducted with full consent of Iraqi authorities and, like our existing air strikes against ISIL in Syria, consistent with domestic and international law," Meehan said. The White House said no advance notice was given to the Syrian government about the operation. "We have warned the Assad regime not to interfere with our ongoing efforts against ISIL inside of Syria," Meehan said. Bill Fallon, the former head of the US Central Command said that the operation showed the US had made advances in collecting intelligence on ISIL. "It puts ISIL on notice that they'll have to be wary of the fact allied forces could come and get them at any time," Fallon said. "The major objective of these kinds of things is to keep ISIL off balance, to let them know there's no sanctuary no matter where they are, that will be very helpful to the effort on the ground."
The attention of reporters and analysts has recently been focused on developments in Iraq. The fall of Anbar province’s main city of Ramadi to the Islamic State, facilitated by the poor performance of the Iraqi military and the Iran-supported Shi’a militias, has again pushed to the fore the issue of increased U.S. military involvement on the ground as the only effective way, at least in the short run, of pushing the Islamic State’s forces back reports claimed on the 20 May 15. This attention to developments in Iraq caused many to miss the more important developments to the north, where the Assad regime, for the first time since the Syrian rebellion began four years ago, appears to be weakening in the face of the growing effectiveness of the rebel forces and the accelerating disintegration of what remains of the Syrian military. Military analysts say that the regime may soon be forced to abandon Damascus and concentrate its dwindling forces in the northwest coastal region of Syria which is controlled by Alawites, the Shi’a branch to which the Assads belong. There are 2.6 million Alawites in Syria, accounting for 12 percent of the country’s twenty-two million people. Since Jan 15, the tide of the civil war in Syria has turned. Sunni rebel groups have:
- Increased their pressure in and around Damascus:
- Made major gains in the strategic Qalamoun Mountains range which controls the border between Syria and Lebanon
- Have made important advances in northwest Syria, threatening the Alawite enclave in northwest Syria
- Gained control of most of Syria’s border crossing
The Assad regime and it staunch ally, Iran, were convinced that the war against the Sunni fundamentalist Islamic State would create a situation in which the United States, and the West more generally, would see Shi’a Iran and the Alawite Assad clan as allies in the war against Islamic State. This calculation may be somewhat applicable, within limits, to Iraq, but not in Syria: The determination of Syria’s Sunni majority to get rid of Assad, a determination supported by neighbouring Turkey and funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, has created a situation in which the very same moderate Sunni forces now being trained and armed by the United States and Jordan are fighting a two front war – on the one front they help the U.S.-led coalition fight Islamic State, while on the second front they have finally managed to turn the tide against the Assad regime and its forces.