The Resurgence of ISIS

Faye Higbee

According to military analysts, there has been a resurgence of ISIS. An attack on Gweiran Prison in Hassakeh, Syria was the largest since they lost their caliphate three years ago. The attack began on Jan 21 with fighters armed with vehicles rigged with explosives and heavy machine guns. Analysts say that ISIS activated sleeper cells in the region.

The evidence of a resurgence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is mounting by the day, nearly three years after the militants lost the last patch of territory of their so-called caliphate, which once stretched across vast parts of the two countries. The fact that ISIS was able to mount these coordinated and sophisticated attacks in recent days shows that what had been believed to be disparate sleeper cells are re-emerging as a more serious threat.

New York Times

On January 21, 2022, a group of approximately 100 ISIS fighters attacked the Gweiran prison in Hassakeh, Syria. The prison held thousands of suspected ISIS members. The Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces, backed by US Airstrikes, were able stop the action, but dozens were killed in the ensuing battles (45 ISIS, 28 Kurds, 5 Civilians). It was the largest attack by ISIS since the fall of the caliphate. The SDF still patrols the perimeter of the prison after numerous ISIS fighters were arrested.

Gweiran Prison – Screenshot via ANHA
Screenshot:  Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces shows some Islamic State group fighters, who were arrested by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after they attacked Gweiran Prison, in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.

The group’s territorial control in Syria and Iraq, where they once declared their “caliphate” was crushed by a years-long U.S.-backed campaign. But its fighters continued with sleeper cells that have increasingly killed scores of Iraqis and Syrians in past months.

The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces brought more reinforcements into Hassakeh in an attempt to regain control of areas taken by ISIS, residents said. More civilians fled the areas of fighting as sounds of explosions echoed in the city and black smoke billowed from the Gweiran Prison area on the southern edge of Hassakeh…

The ISIS attack targeted Gweiran Prison, the largest of around a dozen facilities run by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces holding suspected IS fighters. Gweiran holds some 5,000, including ISIS commanders and figures considered among the most dangerous.

They not only have attacked various places in recent months, a resurgence of beheading videos has also been noted. Those videos were a hallmark of ISIS during the height of their caliphate. Terror groups are beginning their resurgence in places like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. From ISIS to Al-Qaeda, ISIS-K and the Taliban, the world will once again have to confront these vicious killers, thanks to the incompetence of US leadership.


Featured screenshot via Kurdish Forces in Syria – smoke rising from Gweiran Prison

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