Spotlight on Global Jihad (December 19-25, 2019

The Kalashnikov rifles of two Russian soldiers who were ambushed and killed by ISIS near Nawa (Akhbar al-Muslimeen, December 22, 2019)

The Kalashnikov rifles of two Russian soldiers who were ambushed and killed by ISIS near Nawa (Akhbar al-Muslimeen, December 22, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers next to IEDs and mortar shells found east of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 22, 2019)

Iraqi soldiers next to IEDs and mortar shells found east of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 22, 2019)

Highlights of the events
  • The main event in the Syrian arena was a large-scale attack by the Syrian army against the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other rebel organizations, east and southeast of the city of Maarat Nu’man. The Syrian army took over about 40 towns and villages, despite relentless resistance on the part of the rebel organizations, and its forces are now on the outskirts of Maarat Nu’man. In the ITIC’s assessment, the goal of the Syrian army is to take over Maarat Nu’man in preparation for an attack on Idlib in order to achieve a decisive victory in the campaign that it has been conducting for about seven months.
  • In the Euphrates Valley, ISIS continued its intensive activity against the SDF forces, consisting mainly of shooting attacks, attacking headquarters, eliminating soldiers and intelligence personnel and attacking convoys and checkpoints. Attention should be paid to the awakening of ISIS’s Hawran Province in southern Syria, which recently displayed intensive activity, including near the Syrian-Israeli border. In the ITIC’s assessment, this activity also creates a potential for attacks by ISIS operatives against IDF soldiers.
  • On December 22, 2019, ISIS launched a “campaign of revenge” for the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir. So far, some 60 attacks have been carried out as part of the campaign, most of them in the “core countries” of Syria and Iraq and some in the various provinces abroad. An analysis of ISIS’s modus operandi indicates that this is fairly routine operational activity of ISIS, rather than unusually deadly or complex showcase attacks. In the ITIC’s assessment, the term “campaign of revenge” is intended for propaganda purposes, with the main goal of showing that ISIS continues to carry out widespread activity under its new leader, who runs the organization and schedules its operations. Due to the timing of the campaign, almost simultaneously with the Christmas season and New Year’s Eve, it is reasonable to assume that ISIS’s supporters may be motivated to expand it to Western countries as well (ISIS’s supporters have indeed threatened to carry out attacks during the Christmas season, especially in Europe).
Idlib region
Additional Syrian army attack against the rebel organizations (update[1])

On December 20, 2019, the Syrian army launched an attack, the most intensive over the recent months, against the rebel organizations in the Idlib region. It is accompanied by Syrian and Russian airstrikes. So far, the Syrian army has taken over more than 40 towns and villages east and southeast of Maarat Nu’man, near the M-5 highway to Aleppo and Idlib. In the ITIC’s assessment, the objective of the Syrian army attack is to establish its presence on the M-5 highway leading northward, take over Maarat Nu’man, and prepare for the attack on Idlib, the rebel stronghold, with the aim of achieving a decisive victory in the campaign that has been going on for about seven months. Despite the fierce resistance of the rebel organizations, the Syrian army’s advance was relatively quick. The rebel organizations were forced to retreat to the area west of the M-5 highway and are now on the outskirts of Maarat Nu’man. The Syrian army’s General Staff released an announcement stating its determination to finish clearing the Idlib Province from terrorism.

Map of the control area in the Maarat Nu'man region (updated to December 24, 2019). Green: Control area of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the other rebel organizations; Red: Control area of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it; Blue: The areas taken over by the Syrian army; Dotted red line: the Aleppo-Damascus highway (M-5); In the circle with the Turkish flag: a Turkish supervision post (Khotwa, December 24, 2019)
Map of the control area in the Maarat Nu’man region (updated to December 24, 2019). Green: Control area of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the other rebel organizations; Red: Control area of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it; Blue: The areas taken over by the Syrian army; Dotted red line: the Aleppo-Damascus highway (M-5); In the circle with the Turkish flag: a Turkish supervision post (Khotwa, December 24, 2019)
Targeted killing of a senior operative in the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Guardians of Religion Organization
  • On December 22, 2019, an airstrike was carried out by a UAV which fired a missile at a vehicle near the village of Tarmanin (about 40 km northeast of Idlib), according to Syrian and Arab media reports (Khotwa; Asharq Al-Awsat, December 22, 2019). The airstrike killed Bilal Kharissat, codenamed Abu Khadija al-Urduni (i.e., Abu Khadija the Jordanian), a senior operative in the Guardians of Religion Organization and Al-Qaeda. So far, there has been no official announcement by the US Central Command. In the ITIC’s assessment, the airstrike was carried out by the US and the Coalition countries as part of the attacks against Al-Qaeda-affiliated senior operatives in the Idlib region.[2]

The village of Tarmanin, near the site of the airstrike (Google Maps)
The village of Tarmanin, near the site of the airstrike
(Google Maps)

  • Bilal Kharissat, codenamed Abu Khadija al-Urduni, was an Al-Qaeda operative born in Jordan. He was among the prominent commanders of the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, in its various forms (according to Asharq Al-Awsat, December 22, 2019, he served as the organization commander). He was a high-ranking operative in the Guardians of Religion Organization, which operates in the Idlib region. He served in a number of positions, inter alia, as the “emir of the border sector” (apparently the Daraa region) and official in charge of Islamic religious law in several areas in Syria, including the neighborhoods east of Damascus, the Homs and the Idlib areas. In early August 2016, after the Al-Nusra Front announced the establishment of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham, Abu Khadija al-Urduni announced that he would not be part of the newly established framework. He explained that this was because the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham had severed its ties with the Al-Qaeda parent organization[3].

Bilal Kharissat, codenamed Abu Khadija al-Urduni, commander in the Guardians of Religion Organization who died in a targeted killing (Khotwa, December 22, 2019)
Bilal Kharissat, codenamed Abu Khadija al-Urduni, commander in the Guardians of Religion Organization who died in a targeted killing (Khotwa, December 22, 2019)

The Euphrates Valley
The area of Al-Mayadeen and Albukamal

ISIS continued its intensive activity in the Euphrates Valley. The main forms of attacks last week were throwing hand grenades at SDF command posts, targeted killing of SDF fighters and intelligence operatives, shooting at a convoy, the detonation of a motorcycle bomb, and an attack against a checkpoint.

  • Following are ISIS’s main activities (mainly according to the organization’s claims of responsibility):
    • On December 21, 2019, an SDF convoy was targeted by machine gun fire in the village of Al-Hawaij, 4 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen. The passengers of one of the vehicles were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
    • On December 21, 2019, a motorcycle bomb was detonated against an SDF vehicle in the village of Al-Sabha, 20 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The passengers were wounded (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
    • On December 21, 2019, an SDF checkpoint in the village of Al-Susah, about 7 km northeast of Albukamal, was targeted by machine gun fire and hand grenades. Several SDF fighters were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, the house of an SDF intelligence operative in the village of Al-Jaradi, about 20 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen, was targeted by machine gun fire and RPG rockets. It was damaged (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, an SDF intelligence operative in the village of Al-Basira, 14 km north of Al-Mayadeen, was targeted by machine gun fire and killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, RPG rockets were fired at an SDF command post in the village of Al-Susah, 7 km northeast of Albukamal. The command post sustained damage (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, several IEDs were activated against vehicles carrying SDF fighters 14 km north of Al-Mayadeen. Two of the passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 23, 2019, an SDF intelligence operative in the village of Al-Hawaij, 4 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen, was targeted by machine gun fire and killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 24, 2019, an SDF vehicle in the village of Al-Basira was targeted by machine gun fire. Two fighters were killed and another was wounded (Telegram, December 25, 2019).
    • On December 24, 2019, ISIS operatives had carried out an attack against outposts of the Syrian army’s 17th Infantry Division in the Deir ez-Zor Desert (northwest of Al-Mayadeen). At least eight Syrian soldiers were killed and 11 others were wounded. In addition, a mine planted by ISIS about 30 km southwest of Deir ez-Zor exploded. Two Syrian soldiers were killed (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, December 24, 2019).
    • On December 24, 2019, an SDF intelligence operative was targeted by machine gun fire in the village of Al-Hawaij, 4 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen. He was killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 25, 2019, RPG rockets were fired at an SDF training base near the village of Al-Susah. It sustained damage (Telegram, December 25, 2019).
The area of Al-Raqqah and Al-Tabqa
  • On December 22, 2019, hand grenades were thrown at the house of an SDF intelligence operative in Al-Raqqah. The house was damaged (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, two SDF fighters were targeted by machine gun fire in Al-Tabqa, west of Al-Raqqah. They were both killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an SDF fighter in Al-Tabqa was shot and wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an IED was activated against a vehicle carrying SDF fighters near Al-Sahel, 5 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. The passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 24, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle in northwest Al-Raqqah. When SDF fighters arrived at the scene, another IED was activated against them. Several SDF fighters were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle in southwest Al-Raqqah. One SDF fighter was killed and another was wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, hand grenades were thrown at the SDF Investigation and Prosecution Headquarters in Al-Mansura, 23 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. One SDF fighter was wounded and the building sustained damage (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 24, 2019, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle west of Al-Raqqah. The vehicle was put out of commission and two fighters who were inside were wounded (Telegram, December 25, 2019).
Southern Syria (Hawran Province)

Recently, the activity in the Hawran Province has evidently increased substantially, including attacks in the Golan Heights, near the border with Israel. The most common forms of attacks in the past week were shooting attacks, especially machine gun fire at passing vehicles. Most prominent this week was an attack in which two Russian soldiers were killed, according to ISIS’s report. The increasing activity in the Hawran Province, part of which takes place in the Golan Heights near the border with Israel, creates a potential for attacks against IDF soldiers as well.

  • Following are ISIS’s main activities in the past week (based on its claims of responsibility):
    • On December 22, 2019, a Syrian soldier was targeted by machine gun fire 14 km northwest of As-Suwayda. He was killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, a vehicle carrying soldiers on the Azra al-Harak road (about 20 km east of Daraa) was targeted by machine gun fire. A Syrian army officer and two soldiers were killed. Another passenger was wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, a Syrian army checkpoint on the Al-Adnaniya-Al-Qahtaniya road (about 600 meters east of the Syrian-Israeli border, about one kilometer southeast of Quneitra) was targeted by machine gun fire. A Syrian soldier was killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).

The site where the Syrian Al-Qahtaniya checkpoint (near the border with Israel) was attacked (Bing Maps)
The site where the Syrian Al-Qahtaniya checkpoint (near the border with Israel) was attacked (Bing Maps)

On December 22, 2019, Two Russian soldiers riding a motorcycle near Nawa, north of Daraa (16 km east of the Syrian-Israeli border) were targeted by machine gun fire. Both of them were killed and their weapons were seized (Telegram, December 22, 2019).

The Iraqi arena
ISIS’s activity

This week, ISIS’s intensive activity in Iraq continued, mainly in the Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces. The most common forms of activity were the activation of IEDs against vehicles of the Iraqi security forces, firing mortar shells and sniper fire at Iraqi army camps, and an attack against an oil facility.

  • Following are ISIS’s main activities based on its claims of responsibility:
Diyala Province
  • On December 20, 2019, an IED was activated against Iraqi army soldiers and Popular Mobilization operatives northeast of Baqubah. Three soldiers were killed and two Popular Mobilization operatives were wounded (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
  • On December 21, 2019, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle in the Al-Waqf area, northeast of Baqubah. The passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an Iraqi army camp about 70 km northeast of Baqubah was targeted by sniper fire. One soldier was killed and three others were wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an Iraqi army compound about 50 km north of Baqubah was targeted by sniper fire. One soldier was killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an Iraqi police compound in west Baqubah was targeted by sniper fire. One policeman was killed and two others were wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 20 km northeast of Baqubah. Six soldiers were killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an Iraqi army camp northeast of Baqubah was targeted by sniper fire. Two soldiers were killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, a compound of the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s commando unit about 50 km north of Baqubah was targeted by sniper fire. One soldier was killed (Telegram, December 24, 2019).

Salah al-Din Province

  • On December 21, 2019, ISIS operatives infiltrated into a camp of the Oil Facility Security Directorate west of Baiji, shooting and killing five policemen. A police vehicle equipped with a heavy machine gun arrived immediately afterward to offer assistance. ISIS operatives activated an IED against it. Five more policemen were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 22, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an IED was activated against an Iraqi police vehicle in the Al-Shirqat area, about 90 km south of the city of Mosul. One policeman was wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, an Iraqi army camp west of Samarra was targeted by sniper fire. One soldier was killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, a checkpoint of the Shiite Peace Brigades militia (led by Muqtada al-Sadr) was targeted by machine gun fire about 80 km north of Baghdad. Three operatives were killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
  • On December 23, 2019, an Iraqi federal policeman was targeted by sniper fire northwest of Samarra and was killed (Telegram, December 24, 2019).
  • On December 24, 2019, two Iraqi soldiers were targeted by light arms fire north of Baghdad. Both were killed (Telegram, December 24, 2019).

Nineveh Province

  • On December 17, 2019, a Tribal Mobilization operative was targeted by machine gun fire at his home about 40 km south of Mosul. He was killed (Telegram, December 18, 2019).
  • On December 22, 2019, a vehicle carrying a senior political activist affiliated with the Iraqi government was targeted by machine gun fire about 40 km south of Mosul. One of the activist’s escorts was killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).

Kirkuk Province

  • On December 17, 2019, an Iraqi police compound about 50 km southwest of Kirkuk was targeted by machine gun fire. Three policemen were killed (Telegram, December 18, 2019).
  • On December 18, 2019, a Popular Mobilization operative was taken prisoner about 35 km northwest of Kirkuk. He was executed (Telegram, December 18, 2019).

Al-Anbar Province

  • On December 23, 2019, a car bomb was detonated among Iraqi soldiers at the entrance to Al-Qaim (near the Iraqi-Syrian border). An officer and seven soldiers were killed or wounded (Telegram, December 24, 2019).
Counterterrorist activities by the Iraqi security forces

Diyala Province

  • The Iraqi Air Force attacked ISIS targets in the Lake Hamrin area, about 50 km northeast of Baqubah. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, several ISIS operatives were killed in the attack (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019).

Nineveh Province

  • The Iraqi army carried out manhunts for ISIS operatives about 60 km southeast of Mosul. The forces fired a Kornet missile at ISIS operatives on motorcycles. Eight ISIS operatives were killed (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019).
Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)     Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)
Iraqi soldiers operating against ISIS southeast of the city of Mosul
(Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 21, 2019)
  • Iraqi army forces combed an area about 50 km east of Mosul in search of secret ISIS networks. They found IEDs and mortar shells (Facebook account of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, December 22, 2019).
The Sinai Peninsula
  • On December 21, 2019, three mortar shells were fired at an Egyptian army checkpoint in Al-Mahdiya, south of Rafah. Direct hits were identified (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
The activity of ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia

The activity of ISIS’s provinces in Africa and Asia

Africa

Nigeria

  • ISIS’s intensive activity continues in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria:
    • On December 18, 2019, West Africa Province operatives attacked a Nigerian police headquarters. Several policemen were wounded. In addition, weapons, ammunition and vehicles were seized (Telegram, December 20, 2019).
    • On December 21, 2019, a Nigerian army base was targeted by mortar shell fire about 50 km west of the border between Nigeria and Cameroon (near Lake Chad) (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, a Nigerian army camp was targeted by mortar shell fire about 40 km from the border between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad (near Lake Chad) (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, a Nigerian army camp was attacked about 50 km east of the border between Nigeria and Cameroon (near Lake Chad) (Telegram, December 23, 2019). Two suicide bombers wearing explosive vests blew themselves up near the Nigerian soldiers. Several Nigerian soldiers were killed (Telegram, December 25, 2019).
    • On December 22, 2019, a Nigerian army base was targeted by mortar shell fire about 50 km west of the border between Nigeria and Cameroon (near Lake Chad). Hits were identified (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 23, 2019, ISIS ambushed and fired machine guns at a vehicle carrying four Christian civilians and a Nigerian soldier (near Lake Chad). All the passengers were killed (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
    • On December 23, 2019, ISIS operatives launched five mortar shells at a Nigerian army camp near the border between Nigeria and Chad (Telegram, December 24, 2019).
    • On December 23, 2019, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army headquarters in Damaturu, in Yobe State in northeastern Nigeria. Several soldiers were killed and wounded (Telegram, December 24, 2019).
    • On December 23, 2019, a Nigerian army vehicle was ambushed and fired at north of Maiduguri. Seven soldiers were killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, December 25, 2019).
    • On December 24, 2019, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army checkpoint. Four soldiers were killed. Weapons and ammunition were seized (Telegram, December 25, 2019).

Mozambique

  • On December 17, 2019, a Mozambican army tanker (probably a fuel tanker) was targeted by machine gun fire in the Cabo Delgado region of northeastern Mozambique. The tanker went up in flames (Telegram, December 18, 2019).

Over the past year, ISIS has claimed responsibility for several attacks against the security forces in northeastern Mozambique. The background of the attacks is the strengthening of radical Islam in Mozambique, stemming from a combination of poverty and corruption. In 2012, Kenyan Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed was executed after being accused of supporting the Al-Shabab organization in Somalia. His supporters moved south, creating a presence in Tanzania. In 2015, they moved to the Cabo Delgado area, in northeastern Mozambique. Organizations of smugglers carrying out intensive activity in this area and religious organizations have recruited youth from Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia and have provided them with military and Islamic training. The high income of the smugglers has also enabled them to recruit radical Muslim clerics and bring them to Mozambique (BBC, June 2, 2018).

  • The current attacks in the Cabo Delgado area have been going on for about two years and have left devastation in their wake. The Cabo Delgado Province is comprised mainly of small villages of farmers who also make a living fishing in the coastal area. In 2019, over 600 people were killed in the province and now most of the villages are deserted (Azarrah Karim, Growing Terrorism In Mozambique, with Suspected Link to ISIS, Wreaking Havoc With No End in Sight, NEWS24, December 19, 2019).
  • According to Jasmine Opperman, a researcher on the war on Islamic terrorism, there are now between seven and 10 terrorist networks operating in the Cabo Delgado area. The Mozambican authorities are apparently incapable of handling the situation, and the media restrictions that they impose make it impossible to obtain information about it (Azarrah Karim, Growing Terrorism In Mozambique, with Suspected Link to ISIS, Wreaking Havoc With No End in Sight, NEWS24, December 19, 2019). According to Ms. Opperman, ISIS’s attacks and daring in Mozambique are gradually increasing. ISIS operatives have access to intelligence and information on the location of reinforcements. In light of the government’s helplessness, ISIS’s activity is moving towards the center of the country (Azarrah Karim, Growing Terrorism In Mozambique, with Suspected Link to ISIS, Wreaking Havoc With No End in Sight, NEWS24, December 19, 2019).

Somalia

  • On December 23, 2019, a Somali army officer was targeted by gunfire in the center of the city of Bosaso, on the Gulf of Aden in northeastern Somalia. The officer was killed (Telegram, December 24, 2019).

Yemen

  • Attacks for which ISIS claimed responsibility this week:
    • On December 18, 2019, ISIS operatives exchanged fire with Houthi operatives in the Qifah area in the northwest of the Al-Bayda Province (about 100 km southeast of Sana’a). Three Houthi operatives were killed and two others were wounded (Telegram, December 20, 2019).
    • On December 20, 2019, an IED was activated against Al-Qaeda operatives while they were attempting to neutralize it in the Qifah area. An Al-Qaeda operative was killed and another was wounded (Telegram, December 21, 2019).
    • On December 21, 2019, an IED was activated against two Al-Qaeda operatives in the northwestern part of the Al-Bayda Province. One Al-Qaeda operative was killed and the other was wounded (Telegram, December 23, 2019).
The battle for hearts and minds
  • This week, ISIS’s supporters distributed a number of posters on Telegram, threatening to carry out attacks against Christian targets, especially throughout Western Europe, on the occasion of the Christmas season, and especially on Christmas Day. Following are some examples:
“O Christians, the countdown to the holiday season has begun.” In the background, there is a picture of a western locale, probably in Europe (Telegram, December 21, 2019).    Threats in Arabic and French: ramming attacks, and underneath the caption “The holidays of Christians are approaching. O soldier of Islam, get ready and prepare yourself and you will be rewarded for killing the worshipers of the cross” (Telegram, December 20, 2019).
Right: Threats in Arabic and French: ramming attacks, and underneath the caption “The holidays of Christians are approaching. O soldier of Islam, get ready and prepare yourself and you will be rewarded for killing the worshipers of the cross” (Telegram, December 20, 2019). Caption on the left: “O Christians, the countdown to the holiday season has begun.” In the background, there is a picture of a western locale, probably in Europe (Telegram, December 21, 2019).
Threats against Europe below the caption: “On your Christmas Day you will pay the price of your bombings.” Paris is clearly identifiable in the background (Telegram, December 18, 2019).    Threats against London below the caption: “Terrorism is the worshiping of Allah – it will bring us closer to Allah” (Telegram, December 18, 2019).
Right: Threats against London below the caption: “Terrorism is the worshiping of Allah – it will bring us closer to Allah” (Telegram, December 18, 2019). Left: Threats against Europe below the caption: “On your Christmas Day you will pay the price of your bombings.” Paris is clearly identifiable in the background (Telegram, December 18, 2019).

[1] This document supplements the ITIC's Information Bulletin from December 24, 2019, “Additional Syrian army attack against the rebel organizations in the Idlib region (initial overview).
[2] See, for example, the ITIC's Information Bulletin from July 4, 2019, “American aerial attack on senior operatives of Al-Qaeda’s Guardians of Religion in Idlib: initial overview and assessment ”

[3] For further details, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from March 13, 2018, “Split among Al-Qaeda’s supporters in Syria, in light of severe differences of opinions regarding the nature of the ties with Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri”