Bombings follow a blast on Wednesday in Manbij, a northern Syrian town controlled by a militia allied with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, claimed by Islamic State
What is ISIS, also known as Islamic State and ISIL?
Islamic State is a jihadist group that that follows a strict and extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam. It was established as a breakout of Al-Qaida in Iraq, emerging out of the upheaval in the country that followed the U.S. invasion in 2003, and gained notoriety during the Syrian uprising and ensuing civil war, attracting foreign fighters and capturing strategic areas in both countries. Originally calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group changed its name in June 2014 to Islamic State, declaring a new caliphate and instating its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph – the head of state.
Goal and Territory:
The group's declared goal is to form a medieval Islamic state, a caliphate. It has captured swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, and declared Raqqa, a city in northeastern Syria along the Euphrates River, its capital. This is where its headquarters and power base are. It also has a presence or affiliated groups in Yemen, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and across North Africa.
Resources and Operation:
The group is funded by a combination of oil revenues, ransom payments, extortion and foreign fighters. Its resources are vast, including oilfields, refineries and agricultural land. It operates more like a regular army with a recruiting network, training camps and a propaganda machine.
Islamic State is infamous for its barbaric violence, including beheadings, immolation, targeted killings, mass shootings, forced conversions, sexual abuse and torture. Its persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Shia and Turkmen has been described as "ethnic and religious cleansing." Children belonging to targeted minorities have been forcibly recruited and positioned on front lines. Its use of extreme violence helps it seize power and recruit members.
Anti-Islamic State Coalition:
Since the summer of 2014, a United States-led coalition of countries has been conducting air strikes against the group and empowering local militias and armies with training and weapons. Despite that, the group has continued to advance. After having extracted American soldiers from the war in Iraq, U.S. President Barack Obama has been reluctant to put boots on the ground to fight Islamic State there. He is also cautious of intervening in the Syrian civil war.
The Foundations of a State:
The Islamic State already has the foundations of a state. It controls territory that includes major cities and covers large portions of Iraq and Syria; it has its own military and security force, a self-proclaimed administration that runs daily life - schools, government offices, utilities, hospitals, taxation and a judiciary system that follows Sharia law.
Graham's statements follow a bomb attack this week claimed by ISIS, which killed two U.S. troops and two civilians working for the U.S. military in northern Syria
The Pentagon said two U.S. service members, a Department of Defense civilian employee and one contractor working for the military were killed and three service members were injured
At least 16 civilians were killed in the blast, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ISIS claimed responsibility
Mehdi Nemmouche faces life in prison in what is the first trial over an attack staged by a Western European returned from fighting in Syria
Centuries-old statues and sculptures were wrecked by the jihadists when they twice seized control of the old city in central Syria during the country's war, which will enter its ninth year in March
Ankara’s forces - riven by infighting, jihadist proxies and post-coup purges - will always prioritize fighting anti-ISIS Kurdish forces, and not Islamic State itself. America must stay in Syria until the anti-ISIS job is done
The trip comes amid confusion over conflicting statements by Trump and senior U.S. officials about a planned troop withdrawal from Syria
The device was one of two found on a nearby rooftop as part of a string of attacks on Egypt's Coptic Christians by Islamic insurgents
Erdogan's spokesman claims Ankara only targets ISIS and Kurdish militia groups amid efforts by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton to safeguard the Kurds
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The move highlights the close relations between the two neighboring countries
Ten militants killed in Sinai raid, 30 more in and around Cairo
Main Kurdish militia invited government to seize the town in order to prevent a Turkish attack in wake of U.S. decision to pull out of Syria ■ Kremlin welcomes move, as U.S.-led coalition says announcement is 'incorrect'
U.S. president's surprise stop was 'a violation of national sovereignty,' critics say after Trump boasts to troops that 'we're no longer the suckers' as result of Syria pullout
Trump's withdrawal decision effectively hands the fight against Islamic State to Erdogan, allowing him to embolden push against Kurdish YPG rebels
Trump said that Turkey will continue fighting the remaining Islamic State forces, declaring: 'Our troops are coming home!'
Only 11 days ago, Brett McGurk said it would be 'reckless' to consider ISIS defeated; he decided to speed up plan to leave in mid-February
Without U.S. soldiers as a buffer, the Kurds are now stuck between Turkey, Assad and ISIS
Report comes just two days after Trump announces withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria ■ Kurdish officials concerned over ability to contain ISIS prisoners
Russia says chaotic U.S. decision-making is complicating world affairs
Despite his declared sympathy for Israel, Trump's move goes against Netanyahu's position and further isolates the country in its attempt to subdue Iranian influence
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Trump was moving toward his dramatic decision in recent weeks even as top aides tried to talk him out of it, determined to fulfill a campaign promise of limiting U.S. involvement militarily abroad
The jihadists control a shrinking strip of land east of the Syria's Euphrates River around the town of Hajin, which U.S.-backed forces entered this month