CENTCOM has not confirmed the death of senior ISIS leader Abu Ala al-Afri following a statement from the Iraqi Defense Ministry indicating that a coalition airstrike based on prior intelligence had killed Afri near Mosul. Reports of senior ISIS casualties usually take time to confirm.
ISIS targets the regime in Hasaka to offset losses to the YPG while also trying to expand in the Central Corridor and out to the west. JN declares itself in direct confrontation with ISIS while JN and rebels resist regime offensives in Idlib.
The prison break in Khalis that resulted in the escape of ISIS fighters was reminiscent of previous attacks by ISIS that replenished its ranks in 2012-2013.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in February 2015 that ISIS would pursue simultaneous campaigns to defend territory in Iraq and Syria, to foster affiliates in the region, and to polarize populations globally. Events from the March-May 2015 reporting period demonstrate that ISIS is now executing this multifaceted strategy.
The contest for the Baiji Oil Renery is accelerating as ISIS cut off supply routes previously used by the ISF and occupied positions within the facility.
During his current visit to Washington, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani reiterated his desire for an independent Kurdistan. Similarly, the U.S. reiterated its desire for a “united, federal, and democratic Iraq,” signaling that it does not support Kurdish autonomy.
Violence escalates in Syrian-Lebanese border region. Has Hezbollah decided to just contain JN or is there a “Battle of Qalamoun” coming? Also, regional actors appear willing to increase support to rebel groups with rumors of anti-aircraft capabilities coming.
The provision in the House Armed Service Committee’s draft defense bill that would permit the U.S. to directly distribute arms to Iraq’s Sunni and Kurdish communities continued to generate negative reactions in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government has yet to launch major operations in Anbar. Meanwhile, ISIS is increasing the rate of its terrorist attacks in the capital.