ISIS threatens US, tries to rally support in new audio message
BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group appeared to try to keep morale high among its supporters in a new audio message released on Saturday, May 21, which also called for attacks on the US during the holy month of Ramadan.
The audio recording reportedly featuring ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani was posted online late Saturday evening after much fanfare by ISIS supporters on Twitter.
"Will we be defeated if we lose Mosul, or Sirte, or Raqa, or all the cities, and go back to how we were before?" Adnani said.
The three cities are ISIS's strongholds in Iraq, Libya, and Syria respectively.
"No. Defeat is only losing the desire and the will to fight," Adnani continued, in his first voiced speech since October 2015.
The spokesman appeared to mock the United States, which is leading a coalition of countries in an air war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, for failing to definitively defeat IS.
He said even "20,000 air strikes" by the coalition had not destroyed ISIS.
Adnani also called for attacks on the US and Europe during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts in early June this year, an appeal he made at the same time last year when urging supporters to seek "martyrdom."
On Friday, flyers apparently dropped by the coalition on Raqa city in northern Syria urged residents to leave the city, perhaps ahead of an offensive by anti-ISIS forces to recapture it.
"It would appear ISIS is more clearly acknowledging its limitations in holding territory" while stressing the "idea of living on despite losses," wrote jihadism expert Aymenn al-Tamimi in reaction to Adnani's recording.
ISIS has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq to create a self-styled "caliphate." Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has received pledges of alliance from jihadist groups around the world. – Rappler.com