October 13, 2023

Salafi-Jihadi Movement Weekly Update, October 11, 2023

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Data Cutoff: October 10, 2023, at 10 a.m.

Key Takeaways:

Iraq and Syria. Turkey began an air incursion against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on October 1, which will likely impede SDF’s ability to execute operations against ISIS. Iranian and Iranian-backed forces are deploying to the Israeli-Syrian border, which may enable ISIS to embed itself in the population in Deir ez Zor and conduct attacks to incite sectarian tension in Damascus. ISIS will likely take advantage of the changing Iranian and SDF priorities to accelerate ISIS’s campaigns of isolating regime and SDF units to prepare to build support among the population.

Niger. The Islamic State Sahel Province (ISSP) is isolating Nigerien forces and reducing Nigerien pressure on the group’s sanctuaries along the Malian-Nigerien border, which will enable the group to overrun Nigerien border posts to consolidate control over northwestern Niger. Strengthened ISSP control over northwestern Niger would destabilize the Nigerien junta and allow the group to target more politically sensitive areas, such as the capital.

Mali. The Malian army and Wagner Group are committing atrocities against civilians as they push into northern Mali to assume control over UN bases, which will likely strengthen al Qaeda–linked militants’ local support in the area. Al Qaeda’s local affiliate will likely leverage this support to further co-opt local leadership and implement shadow governance in rebel-controlled areas, which will increase the group’s transnational threat risk by giving it access to the sanctuaries and resources needed to stage external attacks.

Pakistan. Pakistan has begun deporting Afghan refugees, which will likely provide the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) with opportunities to attack Pakistani authorities expelling refugees to build popular support. The Pakistani government ordered all undocumented Afghan refugees to leave the country by November 1 and has begun deporting refugees to follow through on the decision.

Afghanistan. Taliban messaged support for Hamas’s incursion into Israel while denying that it will militarily support the group’s attacks. Taliban-affiliated media outlets republished rhetoric from Taliban religious leaders calling on Muslims to conquer Jerusalem, demonstrating a continued shared ideology with transnational Salafi-jihadi groups.


Iraq and Syria.  

Author: Brian Carter

Turkey began an air incursion against the US-backed SDF on October 1, which will likely impede SDF’s ability to execute operations against ISIS. Turkish forces began bombing SDF positions after a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack cell detonated a suicide vest at the Turkish Interior Ministry on October 1.[1] Turkey views the SDF as an outgrowth of the PKK, and Ankara accused the SDF of harboring the PKK fighters who attacked Turkey.[2]

Turkish air strikes are targeting both civilian and military infrastructure to undermine the SDF’s ability to govern. The SDF retaliated with raids and shelling along the lines of control with Turkish-backed forces in Syria.[3] Turkish forces and unspecified militants have detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting SDF commanders close to critical military infrastructure, including the Al Sina’a prison, which houses thousands of veteran ISIS fighters.[4]

  • Turkey has hit over 150 civilian sites during its operation.[5] These include power stations, water treatment facilities, oil fields, and dams. The air strikes are also targeting military facilities. Turkish forces killed at least 29 SDF Internal Security Forces (InSF) members training for counter-narcotics operations in an air strike on the SDF InSF Academy in Al Malikiyah, Hasakah province, Syria.[6]
  • The SDF is retaliating with raids along the line of control between Turkish-backed forces and the SDF. The SDF spokesperson said on October 11 that SDF operations eliminated 22 “Turkish soldiers” and wounded dozens more “over the last few days.”[7] The SDF attacked Turkish bases in the Tal Abyad and Ain Issa areas in Raqqa province and the Tal Tamr and Ras al Ayn areas in Hasakah province since October 6.[8]
  • Turkey and unspecified militants have used IEDs to target SDF members near Al Sina’a prison in Hasakah city since October 3.[9] Al Sina’a prison, which is in Hasakah city’s Ghuwayran neighborhood, housed 3,500 ISIS detainees and 700 minors supportive of ISIS as of January 2022.[10] IED attacks targeting SDF members near the prison risks compromising the SDF’s ability to properly secure the facility. Local Arab media reported that the SDF withdrew from some military facilities and barracks in Hasakah city to protect themselves from Turkish air strikes and attacks, which further contributes to this risk.[11]

The Turkish air strikes also decrease the ability of US forces in Syria to partner with the SDF and support SDF counter-ISIS operations. US forces shot down a Turkish drone that came within half a kilometer of a joint US-SDF facility in northeastern Syria on October 5, an incident that forced US service members to shelter in a bunker.[12] This is the latest example of escalatory Turkish behavior. Turkey previously used a drone to target a convoy including SDF leader Mazloum Abdi and US service members near the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah in April 2023 and targeted a separate joint US-SDF base in a 2022 air strike.[13] These strikes increase the risk to US forces that plan missions with and advise the United States’ only counter-ISIS partner in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also threatened to retaliate for the US shooting down of the Turkish drone on October 5.[14] This threat will require mitigation to protect US forces.[15]

Iranian and Iranian-backed forces are deploying to the Israeli-Syrian border, which may enable ISIS to embed itself in the Deir ez Zor population and conduct attacks to incite sectarian tension in Damascus. The forces deployed from Sayyida Zeinab near Damascus and Deir ez Zor province in eastern Syria. This suggests that Iran is prioritizing countering Israel over Syria-focused objectives, such as countering ISIS. A Golan-based journalist said the Iranian forces at Sayyida Zeinab focused on drone capabilities.[16]

CTP has not observed deployments of Iranian-backed ground forces that protect Sayyida Zeinab, which would create greater opportunities for ISIS attacks on the shrine there. ISIS conducted two attacks in Sayyida Zeinab in July 2023.[17] Syrian opposition media reported that Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders and Lebanese Hezbollah were redeploying Lebanese Hezbollah units and Iranian-backed forces from Deir ez Zor province to the border and to Lebanon between October 9 and October 11.[18]

  • Syrian opposition media reported that Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah are attempting to deploy Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces from Deir ez Zor to Quneitra and Lebanon.[19] A London-based Syrian opposition outlet claimed that Lebanese Hezbollah fighters left Deir ez Zor province in several convoys bound for Lebanon on October 10.[20] The same outlet claimed the IRGC is attempting to recruit 1,000 Deiris and deploy them to Lebanon on October 11.[21] A separate opposition source said that some Iranian-backed militants refused to redeploy to Quneitra on October 9.[22] Some Iranian IRGC forces focused on drone transfers deployed from Sayyida Zeinab to the Golan Heights border area on October 9, according to a Golan-based journalist.[23]
  • CTP continues to assess that ISIS is attempting to isolate regime units in regime-controlled Deir ez Zor, develop support zones there, and coerce support from the population. ISIS has isolated regime forces in central Syria and seeks to isolate other major regime positions. The regime is still capable of launching small counter-ISIS operations against major ISIS support zones, such as Wadi Doubayat, but has not successfully penetrated these support zones.[24] ISIS is continuing to penetrate the regime-held west bank of the Euphrates River urban belt.[25]
  • ISIS attacked Sayyida Zeinab twice in July 2023 to stoke sectarian tensions to increase recruitment.[26] CTP has not observed a redeployment of Iranian-backed ground forces near Sayyida Zeinab. These Iranian-backed forces protect the shrine. An Iranian-backed redeployment would grant greater space for ISIS to plan and execute attacks against the shrine to stoke sectarian tensions.

ISIS will likely take advantage of the changing Iranian and SDF priorities to accelerate ISIS’s campaigns of isolating regime and SDF units to prepare to build support among the population. CTP assesses that ISIS is currently pursuing two mutually supporting insurgent campaigns on each side of the Euphrates River.[27] ISIS is targeting regime forces in rural and semi-urban areas to gradually roll back the regime’s ability to patrol these areas and control the population.[28] ISIS is also simultaneously targeting SDF forces to isolate them while intimidating the population into cooperating with ISIS, to break the population’s connection with the SDF.[29] The SDF’s choice to prioritize Turkey over ISIS will further accelerate this effort by decreasing the manpower available to combat ISIS efforts. Likewise, Iran’s focus on the Israel-Gaza conflict will decrease the manpower and the intellectual energy devoted to conducting operations against ISIS, particularly in central Syria. ISIS is strongest in regime-held central Syria.

  • CTP maintains that ISIS aims to rebuild its control in northeastern Syria by gradually rolling back the SDF’s control of the population and terrain.[30] The SDF’s choice to focus on attacking the Turkish-backed forces decreases the manpower available to SDF commanders countering ISIS. It also decreases the amount of time top SDF commanders are able to devote to planning and executing operations against ISIS, because they are occupied with protecting themselves against Turkish air strikes and countering Turkish military operations. ISIS is already conducting operations that aim to isolate SDF forces, and bandwidth and manpower constraints will allow ISIS the opportunity to accelerate its operations aimed at isolating SDF forces.

ISIS seeks to rebuild itself in central Syria by exerting control over unpopulated rural areas through isolating major regime-held towns and gradually infiltrating populated areas.[31] CTP assesses that Iran and its partners only prioritize counter-ISIS operations in Syria as they relate to securing energy facilities and critical ground lines of communication.[32] Iran’s diversion of resources from Deir ez Zor and central Syria will cause Iran to further de-prioritize its missions in central Syria as it attempts to move forces west to support its partners and proxies against Israel. This will enable ISIS to strengthen itself in central Syria, free from serious counter-ISIS pressure.

Figure 1. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in the Middle East

Source: Kathryn Tyson.


Author: Liam Karr

ISSP attacks are isolating Nigerien forces and reducing Nigerien pressure on the group’s sanctuaries along the Malian-Nigerien border, which will likely enable the group to destroy Nigerien border posts to consolidate control over northwestern Niger. ISSP has tripled its rate of attacks in Niger since late September compared to the previous nine weeks since the July 26 Nigerien coup.[33] This increase includes the deadliest attack since the coup, when hundreds of IS militants killed dozens of Nigerien soldiers in an ambush using multiple suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) on October 2. Some Nigerien soldiers stationed near the Malian border subsequently halted patrols and remained in their bases.[34] Security forces confined to their bases are unable to secure local populations from ISSP militants, conduct patrols, or gather the local intelligence necessary to disrupt impending attacks. The withdrawal of French support and halt of US military cooperation after the July 2023 coup has made Nigerien forces even more vulnerable.[35]

  • ISSP has tripled the rate of its attacks since September 28 compared to the previous nine weeks since the Niger coup in July 2023.[36] The group had conducted nine attacks between the July coup and September 27, but it has conducted six attacks since then.[37] ISSP militants killed at least 29 soldiers in an ambush involving SVBIEDs on October 2, with local sources claiming the attack killed at least 100 soldiers.[38]
  • ISSP has previously assassinated local leaders and stoked ethnic tensions during efforts to penetrate border communities. ISSP has increased its rate of attacks against civilians since the July coup, but CTP has not yet observed an increase in the rate of local ISSP assassinations or amplified ethnic tensions since the coup.[39]
  • France announced it would withdraw its 1,400 troops from Niger by the end of the year on September 24 and began withdrawing troops in early October.[40] The US has not withdrawn any of its 1,100 soldiers, but it officially ceased military cooperation and aid to Nigerien forces on October 10 after designating the July takeover as a coup.[41]

Figure 2. ISSP Amplifies Pressure Along the Nigerien Border

Source: Liam Karr.

ISSP attacks that destroy border posts would enable it to establish control over growing swaths of northwestern Niger, which would destabilize the Nigerien junta and enable the group to target more politically sensitive areas, such as the capital. The regional West African political bloc has said that a regional intervention to reinstitute the democratically elected government is an option, and it began mobilizing a standby force in August. The junta has been preoccupied with protecting itself from a potential intervention and assumed significant risk along the Malian border as it concentrates its forces around the capital.[42] Soldiers’ refusal to go on patrols after the October 2 attack signals that the attack has already caused internal unrest, and a large-scale attack would further undermine the junta’s legitimacy and spur greater divisions within the Nigerien military.[43]

Military regimes in West Africa have repeatedly shown that juntas will give priority to maintaining political power over addressing insecurity, which means greater factionalism will only further distract the Nigerien military and amplify insecurity.[44] ISSP will pose a greater threat to politically sensitive areas of Niger, such as Niamey, as it gains control of northwestern Niger, because it will gain access to more space, supplies, weapons, and recruitment pools and be able to redirect resources currently devoted to isolating Nigerien forces in northwestern Niger.

  • The Economic Community of West African States threatened to invade Niger to reinstate the democratically elected president on July 30 and mobilized a standby force on August 10.[45] The Nigerian foreign minister reiterated that a military invasion is still an option during an interview with France 24 on October 4.[46] Negotiations between the Algerian government and Nigerien junta to outline a transition to civilian rule collapsed on October 9, ending chances for an imminent peaceful settlement to the regional standoff.[47]
  • Growing insecurity in Burkina Faso and Mali is increasing factionalism within the Burkinabe and Malian juntas.[48] Major Salafi-jihadi attacks in Burkina Faso increased factionalism and contributed to the 2022 coups in the country.[49] Several major ISSP attacks along the Nigerien border in 2019 and 2020 destroyed border bases and killed over 200 soldiers.[50] The attacks prompted Niger’s democratic government to replace key military leaders—which would be a much more contentious undertaking for an embattled junta facing a similar situation.[51]



Author: Liam Karr

The Malian army and Wagner Group are committing atrocities against civilians as they attempt to assume control over UN bases in northern Mali, which will likely strengthen al Qaeda–linked militants’ local support in the area. A large Malian army and Wagner Group convoy departed from Gao on October 2 to secure bases that the UN mission is vacating in mid-October.[52] Malian and Wagner soldiers have massacred civilians for perceived links to separatist Tuareg rebels and Salafi-jihadi insurgents that have harassed the convoy since it departed.[53] Al Qaeda’s local affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM) has used Wagner atrocities in other parts of the country to improve its local support and has repeatedly offered to ally with separatist groups and northern communities in the Kidal region as a protector from Wagner Group in the Malian army.[54]

  • The Malian army and Wagner Group convoy has carried out at least four human rights violations since October 5. Local sources claimed that a group of mostly Wagner mercenaries beheaded 17 shepherds in Ersane village, Gao region, on October 5, and then booby trapped the dead bodies to kill civilians that retrieved them.[55] Locals also claimed Malian planes launched air strikes targeting a civilian camp, Malian soldiers executed nine traders, and Wagner mercenaries executed three shepherds between October 9 and October 10 near the village of Anefif, Kidal region.[56]
  • JNIM has taken advantage of Wagner Group atrocities to ingratiate itself into local communities and increase recruitment by posing as a defender.[57] The group regularly highlights its attacks on Wagner personnel, and the JNIM emir personally promised to protect local communities in Kidal from Wagner and Malian army attacks in January 2023, even though the security forces were not present in the region at the time.[58]

JNIM will likely leverage its local support and legitimacy to peacefully co-opt leadership in rebel-controlled areas of northern Mali, which would result in de facto JNIM control and shadow governance. JNIM has strong connections with many local rebel groups, and its efforts to pose as a local protector has made it a leading authority in many parts of northern Mali and made rebel groups reliant on JNIM for their own legitimacy.[59] Al Qaeda’s regional leadership internally admitted that forcefully sidelining rebel groups and enforcing shari’a during the 2012 Tuareg rebellion was a mistake that alienated local communities, which suggests it will adjust and pursue some compromise with locally attuned shadow governance as it does in central Mali.[60] Pro-separatist rebels have already self-imposed some aspects of shari’a in areas they administer, which suggests these rebels will be more receptive to some JNIM demands.[61]

  • Al Qaeda–linked militants’ relationship with the rebel groups in northern Mali stretches back decades and varies from coexistence to outright coordination. The two parties initially fought on the same side during the 2012 Tuareg rebellion, before al Qaeda–linked militants sidelined the rebels.[62] The two parties have still maintained nonaggression deals for several years, which has safeguarded their support zones.[63] JNIM has been working more closely with the rebel groups and their communities to counter ISSP’s expansion since at least 2021, which has led community leaders to offer combatants and supplies to JNIM.[64] JNIM and the rebels also have a shared objective of expelling Malian and Wagner forces from northern Mali and have been attacking Malian forces in the same locations around the same time in recent months.[65]
  • JNIM has regularly used siege tactics to coerce civilians into peace deals in central Mali.[66] Local leaders will agree to adopt forms of shari’a, taxation, and noncooperation with security forces in exchange for a siege to end.[67] These deals make security forces in the area extremely vulnerable by removing their local support and intelligence.[68]

JNIM control in northern Mali would enable the group to pose a greater transnational threat, and the group could use its inroads with Tuareg groups to leverage human networks in other countries. Al Qaeda–linked militants in JNIM have carried out regional terror attacks and still aspire to build external attack capabilities targeting the West, despite giving priority to their locally focused insurgency in recent years.[69] JNIM’s growing support zones in northern Mali will give it access to the space, resources, and recruitment pools needed to stage regional and international terror attacks.

JNIM’s ties with Malian Tuareg groups also provide it an opportunity to build its relationships with the transnational Tuareg population to better infiltrate regional human and smuggling networks.[70] The group can use these networks to move fighters between West Africa and North Africa and Europe.[71] Some JNIM leaders have threatened to attack Europe and the US, which indicates some factions would support transnational plots even if most group leadership does not give priority to rebuilding external attack capabilities.[72]

Figure 3. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in Africa

Source: Kathryn Tyson.


Author: Kathryn Tyson

Pakistan has begun deporting Afghan refugees, which will likely provide the TTP with opportunities to attack the Pakistani authorities that are expelling refugees and build popular support. The Pakistani government ordered all undocumented Afghan refugees to leave the country by November 1 and has begun deporting refugees to follow through on that decision.[73] The decision is aimed at reducing TTP attacks, which Pakistan blamed on Afghan nationals in a statement on October 3.[74]

Most Afghan refugees reside in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in northwestern Pakistan, suggesting this is where most deportations will occur.[75] The TTP has maintained support and attack zones in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for decades. TTP leadership threatened anyone cooperating with Pakistani security forces on the deportations, signaling the TTP will target these forces.[76]

Carrying out the threats with attacks on Pakistani security forces would enable the TTP to undermine public faith in the Pakistani state while posing as the protector of the Pashtun ethnic group. The Pashtuns are the majority group in Afghanistan and the second largest group in Pakistan, and the deportations have increased tensions between the Afghan and Pakistani Pashtuns in Pakistan and the Pakistani state.[77] The TTP is primarily composed of Pashtun fighters and seeks to use Pashtun identity to generate support.[78]

  • Pakistan is participating in mass deportations of Afghan refugees. Pakistan announced on October 3 it would deport a million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and impose restrictions on Afghans’ ability to enter Pakistan.[79] Pakistan has followed through on these deportations and has so far deported thousands of Afghan refugees through Pakistan's Chaman border crossing in southwestern Pakistan and Torkham border crossing in northwestern Pakistan.[80]
  • The TTP has incited attacks against anyone who participates in the expulsion of Afghan refugees. The TTP spokesperson on October 5 condemned Pakistan’s decision and urged Pakistanis to support the TTP against the Pakistani state.[81] TTP leader Noor Wali Mehsud released an audio clip on October 10 denouncing Pakistan’s decision and calling on Afghan refugees and the Pashtun ethnic group to revolt against the decision.[82] Mehsud threatened anyone who cooperated with the army in deporting Afghan refugees.
  • The deportations provide opportunities for the TTP to attack and generate support. More than 50 percent of Afghan refugees are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, suggesting this is where most of the deportations will occur. The TTP has had support and attack zones in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for decades and attacks Pakistani security forces in the province several times per week.[83] TTP attacks against authorities deporting Afghan refugees in this area would support TTP efforts to generate popular support in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa among the targeted Pashtun population. This supports TTP’s overarching goal of creating an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan free of Pakistan state governance.

Figure 4. TTP Attacks and Locations of Deportations of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

Source: Kathryn Tyson.



Author: Peter Mills

Taliban messaged support for Hamas’s incursion into Israel while denying that it will militarily support the group’s attacks.[84] Taliban leaders gave speeches to a gathering of Taliban leaders and religious leaders on October 10 urging support for the Palestinian resistance against Israel.[85] Taliban-affiliated media outlets have also republished rhetoric from Taliban religious leaders extolling the importance of Muslims conquering Jerusalem, demonstrating a continued shared ideology with transnational Salafi-jihadi groups.[86]

  • Pro-Taliban supporters repeatedly expressed support for Hamas’s raid into Israel and framed the raid as putting Israel at risk of collapse. Taliban supporters also bolstered Hamas disinformation operations by denying that Hamas had committed atrocities against civilians.[87] Some Taliban supporters called for Taliban commanders to lead forces in support of Hamas.[88] The Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeatedly condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza from October 7 to October 10, and it blamed Israel for Hamas’s attack on October 7.[89] Taliban-affiliated media outlets have repeatedly echoed and expressed support for Hamas propaganda.[90]
  • The conquest of Jerusalem remains core to al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s ideology.[91] Taliban-affiliated outlets republishing rhetoric from Taliban religious leaders echoing this ideology demonstrates a continued shared ideological link to al Qaeda. The TTP also expressed support for Hamas’s attack on Israel, saying "victory can only come through armed jihad.”[92] CTP previously assessed that al Qaeda could use expanding TTP safe havens in Pakistan to conduct attacks beyond the region.[93]

Figure 5. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in Central and South Asia

Source: Kathryn Tyson.


[1] https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/01/middleeast/turkey-ankara-blast-intl/index.html; https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/05/middleeast/turkey-airstrikes-kurdish-syria-intl/index.html

[2] https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/turkey-says-ankara-bomb-attackers-came-syria-2023-10-04; https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/sdf-caught-between-turkey-and-islamic-state-again 

[3] https://x.com/Jamal_Bali7/status/1711398832083222540?s=20; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40976; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40939; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40933; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40928 

[4] https://www.mei.edu/publications/closer-look-isis-attack-syrias-al-sina-prison

[5] https://x.com/abdullahawez/status/1711845520782610791?s=20; https://x.com/farhad_shami/status/1710392120140255500?s=20; https://x.com/farhad_shami/status/1710380350998728876?s=20 

[6] https://x.com/Jamal_Bali7/status/1711398832083222540?s=20; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40976; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40939; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40933; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40928 

[7] https://twitter.com/farhad_shami/status/1712077526850220441

[8] https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40928; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40933; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40939; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40994; https://sdf-press dot com/?p=40976

[9] https://x.com/OrientNews/status/1709539423342243981?s=20; https://twitter.com/DeirEzzore/status/1709536836090290450; https://x.com/HamamIssa7/status/1709698433391489355?s=20 

[10] https://www.mei.edu/publications/closer-look-isis-attack-syrias-al-sina-prison

[11] https://x.com/Sharqya_reporte/status/1709887482651717767?s=20

[12] https://www.voanews.com/a/us-shoots-down-turkish-drone-over-syria/7298777.html; https://x.com/Charles_Lister/status/1709959609543184686?s=20  

[13] https://www.stripes.com/theaters/middle_east/2023-04-13/iraq-isis-turkey-kurdistan-9789824.html; https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/23/politics/us-military-turkey-drone-strike/index.html

[14] https://english.alarabiya dot net/News/middle-east/2023/10/10/Erdogan-vows-retaliation-over-US-downed-Turkish-drone-in-northern-Syria#:~:text=Turkey%20will%20retaliate%20for%20the,conference%20following%20a%20cabinet%20meeting.

[15] https://www.inherentresolve.mil/WHO-WE-ARE

[16] https://twitter.com/nourabohsn/status/1711431172310384695

[17] ISIS claims available on request.

[18] https://deirezzor24 dot net/en/the-iranian-revolutionary-guard-militia-intends-to-deploy-members-to-quneitra-from-deir-ezzor; https://deirezzor24 dot net/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1; https://www.syriahr dot com/%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%89-%d8%ae%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%ab-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%b7%d9%8a%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%8a/682857; https://www.syriahr dot com/%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%89-%d8%ae%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%ab-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%b7%d9%8a%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%8a/682857

[19] https://deirezzor24 dot net/en/the-iranian-revolutionary-guard-militia-intends-to-deploy-members-to-quneitra-from-deir-ezzor; https://deirezzor24 dot net/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1

[20] https://www.syriahr dot com/%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%89-%d8%ae%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%ab-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%b7%d9%8a%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%8a/682857

[21] https://www.syriahr dot com/%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%89-%d8%ae%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a3%d8%ad%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%ab-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d9%81%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%b7%d9%8a%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%8a/682857

[22] https://deirezzor24 dot net/en/the-iranian-revolutionary-guard-militia-intends-to-deploy-members-to-quneitra-from-deir-ezzor; https://deirezzor24 dot net/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%8A%D8%B1

[23] https://twitter.com/nourabohsn/status/1711431175070204027; https://twitter.com/nourabohsn/status/1711431172310384695 

[24] https://twitter.com/thesyrianlions/status/1711787785042972978

[25] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-august-2-2023#IraqSyria20230802; https://www.counterextremism.com/blog/isis-redux-central-syria-insurgency-june-2023

[26] ISIS claims available on request.

[27] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-12-2023#IraqSyria20230412; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-5-2023

[28] https://x.com/HamamIssa7/status/1708600311382786098?s=20; https://shaam dot org/reports/battleground-reports/hsad-sh-am-lmujml-alahdath-almydanyh-fy-swrya-lywm-alahd-1-tshryn-alawl-2023; https://twitter.com/Moonfreyo/status/1708868134482878934?s=20; https://npasyria dot com/en/105476/; https://twitter.com/nahermedia/status/1707367223717736953   

[29] https://ctc.westpoint.edu/the-islamic-states-shadow-governance-in-eastern-syria-since-the-fall-of-baghuz

[30] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-12-2023#IraqSyria20230412; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-5-2023

[31] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-12-2023#IraqSyria20230412; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-april-5-2023

[32] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-update-march-8-2023; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-update-march-3-2023

[33] Author’s database of significant activity (SIGACT). Available on request.

[34] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-66991696; https://x.com/Wamaps_news/status/1709537007335075968?s=20; https://x.com/ighazer/status/1710790788345401388?s=20

[35] https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231005-%F0%9F%94%B4-french-army-says-it-will-begin-withdrawing-troops-from-niger-this-week; https://www.voanews.com/a/us-officially-designates-niger-military-takeover-as-coup/7304820.html 

[36] Author’s SIGACTs. Available on request.

[37] Author’s SIGACTs. Available on request.

[38] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-66991696; https://x.com/Wamaps_news/status/1709537007335075968?s=20

[39] Author’s SIGACTs. Available on request.

[40] https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231005-%F0%9F%94%B4-french-army-says-it-will-begin-withdrawing-troops-from-niger-this-week

[41] https://www.voanews.com/a/us-officially-designates-niger-military-takeover-as-coup/7304820.html

[42] https://x.com/almouslime/status/1709017368075067449?s=20

[43] https://x.com/ighazer/status/1710790788345401388?s=20

[44] https://www.hudson.org/security-alliances/niger-coup-west-african-disaster-making-wagner-james-barnett

[45] https://www.voanews.com/a/eu-us-join-ecowas-in-call-for-niger-military-junta-to-halt-coup/7204716.html; https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/10/niger-ecowas-emergency-summit

[46] https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/t%C3%AAte-%C3%A0-t%C3%AAte/20231004-nigeria-s-fm-says-military-option-still-on-the-table-for-niger

[47] https://www.voaafrique.com/a/l-alg%c3%a9rie-d%c3%a9cide-de-surseoir-%c3%a0-sa-m%c3%a9diation-au-niger/7303132.html

[48] https://www.africaintelligence.com/west-africa/2023/07/14/animosity-grows-between-goita-and-defence-minister-camara,110003663-art; https://x.com/SalahMo73628462/status/1708538487299854476?s=20; https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/burkina-faso-junta-says-it-thwarted-coup-attempt-tuesday-2023-09-27; https://www.jeuneafrique.com/1484931/politique/au-burkina-faso-la-grogne-monte-dans-les-casernes; https://x.com/ighazer/status/1710790788345401388?s=20; https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-october-4-2023#Sahel20231004

[49] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/17/burkina-faso-death-toll-security-post-attack-jumps-to-53; https://issafrica.org/iss-today/what-caused-the-coup-in-burkina-faso; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-60112043; https://www.voanews.com/a/civilians-killed-when-vehicle-hits-explosive-device-in-northern-burkina-faso-/6732742.html; https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/several-feared-dead-trucks-destroyed-burkina-faso-convoy-attack-2022-09-27; https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/30/world/africa/burkina-faso-coup.html 

[50] https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/niger/289-sidelining-islamic-state-nigers-tillabery

[51] https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/niger/289-sidelining-islamic-state-nigers-tillabery

[52] https://www.voaafrica.com/a/malian-authorities-troops-are-being-redeployed-towards-rebel-stronghold-of-kidal/7293237.html; https://www.barrons.com/articles/mali-junta-plans-takeover-of-key-un-camp-in-rebel-north-b596bd61

[53] https://x.com/LoupViallet/status/1711451615574540660?s=20; https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20231010-des-civils-d%C3%A9capit%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-ersane-par-l-arm%C3%A9e-malienne-et-ses-suppl%C3%A9tifs-de-wagner; https://x.com/abdalaag2022/status/1711520429041467686?s=20

[54] https://ctc.westpoint.edu/how-the-wagner-group-is-aggravating-the-jihadi-threat-in-the-sahel; https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2023/02/01/au-mali-rencontres-secretes-du-djihadiste-iyad-ag-ghaly-face-a-la-poussee-de-ses-rivaux_6160078_3212.html

[55] https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20231010-des-civils-d%C3%A9capit%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-ersane-par-l-arm%C3%A9e-malienne-et-ses-suppl%C3%A9tifs-de-wagner

[56] https://x.com/LoupViallet/status/1711451615574540660?s=20; https://x.com/abdalaag2022/status/1711520429041467686?s=20

[57] https://ctc.westpoint.edu/how-the-wagner-group-is-aggravating-the-jihadi-threat-in-the-sahel

[58] https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2023/02/01/au-mali-rencontres-secretes-du-djihadiste-iyad-ag-ghaly-face-a-la-poussee-de-ses-rivaux_6160078_3212.html

[59] https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/4019115

[60] https://ctc.westpoint.edu/aqims-playbook-in-mali; https://ctc.westpoint.edu/the-local-face-of-jihadism-in-northern-mali

[61] https://sahelblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/mali-sharia-in-kidal

[62] https://jamestown.org/program/anarchy-azawad-guide-non-state-armed-groups-northern-mali

[63] https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/mali/laccord-dalger-cinq-ans-apres-un-calme-precaire-dont-il-ne-faut-pas-se-satisfaire

[64] https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/4019115

[65] https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2022/12/10/au-mali-l-ex-rebellion-touareg-appelle-a-eviter-une-rupture-definitive-de-l-accord-de-paix_6153768_3212.html; author’s SIGACTs. Available on request.

[66] https://www.icwa.org/mali-insurgents-agreements

[67] https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/2022/05/04/we-accept-save-our-lives-how-local-dialogues-jihadists-took-root-mali

[68] https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/sahel/mali/mali-enabling-dialogue-jihadist-coalition-jnim

[69] https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/the-underestimated-insurgency-continued-salafi-jihadi-capabilities-and-opportunities-in-africa; https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/terrorism-tactics-and-transformation-the-west-vs-the-salafi-jihadi-movement

[70] https://ctc.westpoint.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/AQIMs-Imperial-Playbook.pdf; https://africacenter.org/publication/puzzle-jnim-militant-islamist-groups-sahel; https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/jnim-burkina-faso; https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/tocta_sahel/TOCTA_Sahel_som_2023.pdf

[71] https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/2425320/lassoing-the-haboob-countering-jamaat-nasr-al-islam-wal-muslimin-in-mali-part-i

[72] https://africanperceptions dot org/ar/2023/03/%d8%b9%d8%ab%d9%85%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%82%d9%8a%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%8a-%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d8%a4%d9%89-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%81%d8%b1%d9%8a%d9%82%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%b3%d9%86; SITE Intelligence Group, “Africa-Focused News Blog Interviews JNIM Official on Group’s Mission and Growing Circle of Operations, Attacks in Benin and Togo,” March 24, 2023, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; https://www.sinosecurity.org/p/al-qaeda-media-jnims-leader-celebrates

[73] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-october-4-2023#AFPAK20231004

[74] https://twitter.com/khorasandiary/status/1709169655628136591

[75] https://data.unhcr.org/en/documents/details/84925

[76] https://twitter.com/SamriBackup/status/1709971754850857420

[77] https://twitter.com/abdsayedd/status/1711650060444831950; https://www.cfr.org/article/pakistans-support-taliban-what-know; https://nps.edu/web/ccs/ethnic-genealogies; https://www.aei.org/articles/pakistans-pashtuns-take-on-the-army-and-terrorists; https://twitter.com/AfghanAnalyst2/status/1710231283538813053

[78] https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/resurgence-tehrik-i-taliban-pakistan

[79] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-october-4-2023#AFPAK20231004; https://www.rferl.org/a/pakistan-illegal-migrants-deportation-order-afghans-fears/32628081.html

[80] https://www dot dawn dot com/news/1780215/1700-illegal-afghan-immigrants-held-as-crackdown-continues; https://twitter.com/AfghanAnalyst2/status/1710023021325340938

[81] https://twitter.com/SamriBackup/status/1709971754850857420

[82] https://twitter.com/abdsayedd/status/1711650060444831950

[83] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/6/why-is-pakistan-deporting-undocumented-afghans

[84] https://www.voanews.com/a/taliban-deny-claims-they-are-trying-to-join-hamas-on-the-battlefield/7303501.html

[85] https://twitter.com/taahir_khan/status/1711659358784823369?s=20; https://twitter.com/abdsayedd/status/1711667017554542879; https://twitter.com/IbnSufyan313/status/1711757500691681520; https://x.com/AfghanAnalyst2/status/1711137061267202417?s=20

[86] https://twitter.com/Almirsad_Arbic/status/1711387935881265400

[87] https://twitter.com/Paktyaw4l/status/1711775124368531758; https://twitter.com/paykhar/status/1711767491846779323; https://twitter.com/hamid_JEA/status/1711772444007206990; https://twitter.com/hamid_JEA/status/1711781701226016936

[88] https://twitter.com/Jawadsarga/status/1711798438998757845

[89] https://twitter.com/MoFA_Afg/status/1710677504653246553; https://twitter.com/QaharBalkhi/status/1711050835386409266; https://x.com/QaharBalkhi/status/1711710336863338745?s=20

[90] https://twitter.com/ALemaraIEA/status/1711739767564435546; https://twitter.com/ALemaraIEA/status/1711286240580952473; https://twitter.com/ALemaraIEA/status/1711826101146976297

[91] https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/how-terrorist-groups-use-jerusalem

[92] https://twitter.com/abdsayedd/status/1710731167056478395

[93] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/salafi-jihadi-movement-weekly-update-july-26-2023