Counter Daesh Insight Bulletin 23-29 April


Daesh supporters struggle to promote and distribute the ‘leadership’ message, released on 22 April, from Daesh spokesperson al-Mujahir. Followers blame ‘fake followers’ and al-Wafa media group, accusing them of trying to disrupt the dissemination of the speech. Daesh claimed attacks and killings in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and the Philippines and major activity in Damascus. In Afghanistan, they claimed to have trained a group of new recruits.

A fake Al-Naba surfaced on 26 April containing blurred pages. The real al-Naba magazine, delayed by one day, was published on 27 April. In an editorial, Daesh lashed out, for the first time, against a new Syria based jihadist group Hurras al-Din, which is believed to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda. They warned Muslims not to side with this new group and accused them of inciting against Daesh.

In the last couple of months, Daesh has threatened the democratic process in several countries. They are still using this anti-democracy rhetoric now to disrupt the democratic process in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The An Nur Media center, in the past a French outlet for Daesh propaganda, posted a graphic asking supporters for suggestions. The Nashir News Agency promoted Daesh propaganda in English and a new Facebook account.

Unofficial media included a call for attacks in Russia during the World Cup, a French article urging Turkish president Erdogan to pledge loyalty to Daesh leader al-Baghdadi, threats against civilian aviation, a video of a Malaysian teen pledging support for Daesh, a poster showing a street corner in Manchester with threats of random murders in Western countries and a pro-Daesh Telegram channel advertising jobs for media workers and translators.

Daesh’s alleged activities in Damascus, Syria

Daesh claimed a large-scale assault on armed opposition controlling an area south of the capital. They also stated they have taken advantage of a shift in priority from the Syrian government and to have repelled Syrian army attacks on different fronts on 23 April, killing 37 Syrian soldiers. This figure is higher than that in official Syrian statements.

Daesh released an 18 minute video discrediting their rivals. They call Jaysh al-Islam and Hayat Tahrir al-sham traitors because they abandoned their positions leaving them to Syrian government forces instead of handing them over to Daesh fighters. They state that Daesh is the only effective defender of Sunni Muslims in Syria. Further, in the video Daesh argues that both US and Russia and their allies try to keep the Syrian President al-Asad in power and so extend the Shia influence in Syria. Supporters divided the video in shorter clips to make it easier to distribute.

Daesh recruits complete training in Afghanistan

Daesh claims that around 160 new recruits completed their ‘military’ training as part of preparations for a major war, in Afghanistan. They have published nine photos, showing recruits using guns and raising Daesh flags, from the ‘Muhammad bin Maslamah al-Ansari training camp’. They claim that, although there is a lack of equipment, the recruits are ready to fight. This announcement comes at a time that Afghan officials said Daesh had been suppressed in Afghanistan. 

Anti-democracy campaign

Over the last couple of months, Daesh used anti-democracy rhetoric to try to disrupt or undermine the democratic process in Egypt and Tunisia. Now they are using the same rhetoric and tactics to disrupt the democratic process in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They claim to have carried out an attack on a voter registration centre in eastern Afghanistan. Amaq reported that a motorcycle bomb was used during this attack on 29 April. In Iraq, Daesh claims to be planning attacks during the upcoming elections set for the 12 May. A video released on 24 April and branded by ‘Euphrates province’ lashes out at democracy and shows a utopian picture of life under Daesh rule. Footage shows children in what seems to be a religious class and the implementation of Sharia law. They accuse today’s modern rulers of changing laws to enslave people and of being controlled by the West. 

Read previous versions of the insight bulletin here

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