ISIS Announces its Next Attack

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The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the group that overran Mosul in Iraq last week and has been pushing south towards Baghdad, announced it is also preparing an offensive in northern Syria.

In a statement dated June 17, 2014, and published on several Arabic websites, ISIS called on its fighters to attack the city of Al-Qamishli and its rural areas. In the last several hours a number of bombings have been reported on Twitter and some reports say the airport of Qamishli has been heavily damaged.

As Michael Rubin reported in February in The Wall Street Journal, Christians, Kurds and Arabs have been conducting a quiet experiment in self-rule in this region of northeast Syria. The region was left largely undefended as President Assad’s forces were drawn to clashes further west, so residents came together to keep day-to-day life running smoothly. Popular Protection Units (YPG), a kind of people’s militia, have been keeping the Islamists at bay. While predominantly Kurdish, the YPG also have been joined by Arabs and Syrian Christians. In early May, the YPG fought alongside the Free Syrian Army in clashes with ISIS forces in Raqqa province. And unlike the ISIS fighters, who prefer their women fully veiled, the YPG have men and women fighting alongside each other.



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