Daesh is still failing to maintain its radio station, al-Bayan, which has been a mouthpiece for Daesh propaganda since 2014. While it has been sporadic in its output for several months, it did not release any news podcasts at all between 27 Dec and 12 Jan, its longest period of silence so far. In the last week, Daesh claimed attacks in Syria, Iraq, Mali and the Sahel region and released pictures and short videos of Nigerian and Syrian prisoners. Output from pro-Daesh, unofficial outlets included advice to women on internet security and workplace prohibitions, and more incitement to violence and threats to the West. Jaysh Khalid, a pro-Daesh group operating in south-west Syria, announced a ban on women under 40 from leaving areas under its control.
Attacks in Kirkuk, Iraq
An ‘exclusive’ report in al-Naba about operations in Kirkuk, issued on the 12 January, sets out Daesh’s plans for operations in the region. Three main reasons for increasing ‘jihad’ are given as: 1) previous battles have cleared the weaker militants from Daesh’s ranks, leaving only the strong ones; 2) the advantage Daesh gets in planning and preparing attacks that exploit the division between Iraq’s federal forces and Kurdish forces and; 3) the ‘overwhelming support’ they get from the local population.
The article states that Daesh will use VBIED, suicide bombs and commando operations to create bigger attacks in the area in the future. The almost complete absence of Coalition-led airstrikes is also mentioned as an opportunity.
Daesh claims Idlib as one of their provinces.
Two Daesh statements about attacks on Syrian forces on 12 and 13 January referred to Idlib as one of Daesh’s ‘provinces’, the first time they have used this descriptor since 2014. The term was not repeated in the latest al Naba.