ISIL plans to attack Baghdad and Saudi Arabia, source close to its top leaders says
By Ali Younes
A source very close to the senior leadership of the “Islamic State” also known as ISIS or ISIL, told the Arab Daily News over the weekend from Amman Jordan that ISIL has an army of 120,000 strong under its command and its getting stronger not weaker despite the international war against it.
The source who refused to be identified for this story also said that the US-led air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria have been ineffective and have caused very little damage to the group ‘s overall strength. “Up to last week, the coalition’s air strikes have only killed 80 combat ISIL fighters” he said. The Arab Daily News could not independently confirm those claims.
Meanwhile the Arab Daily News spoke on the phone to a former Al Nusra Front fighter who deserted its ranks last summer and said that tens of Al Nusra fighters defected and joined ISIL in order to fight against the US-led coalition.
The former fighter who is a Jordanian citizen insisted on not using his name fearing for his safety, also said he was trying to get back to Jordan since he left the extremist group, but the Jordanian intelligence ” Mukhabarat” has refused to let him in the country. The former fighter has been stranded on the Jordanian-Syrian borders along with his wife and baby girl for months with no place to go.
The US government is leading an international coalition to fight ISIL including the Arab countries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt with the declared objective of “degrade and destroyed “as stated by US President Barack Obama last month.
ISIL have captured large swaths of territories in Iraq and Syria last summer and is basing its operations in the Syrian city of al Raqqa. The latest fight to capture the Syrian-Kurdish city of Ain Al Arab or Kobani shows ISIL advance and near total control of the city despite the simultaneous airstrikes against it and fierce resistance from the Kurdish militias defending the city.
According to twitter accounts associated with ISIL or its supporters, ISIL has already changed the name of Ain-al Arab to Ain al Islam to reflect its control of the city. Twitter accounts also published pictures of an ISIL Kurdish commander named “ Khattab” claiming that he was leading ISIL’s assault to capture the city.
Despite the air war against it, ISIL is not slowing down and is expanding its holdings inside Iraq by defeating the Iraqi army in towns and cities in Anbar and Diyala provinces and in Syria by controlling both Kurdish-held and regime-held Syrian territories.
As far as ISIL ultimate objectives in Iraq and in the region, the source also told the Arab Daily News during the interview with him that ISIL is aiming to take control of Baghdad and eventually Iraq by wrenching it from the hands of Iran and its “Shia agents in Baghdad” a reference to Shia-controlled Iraqi governments.
He also added that ISIL’s long term strategy is to attack and take control of Saudi Arabia for several important reasons chief among them is the presence of American bases in Saudi territories, Oil and the presence of many ISIL supporters in Saudi prisons. “There are at least 5000 Saudi members of ISIL who are currently fighting in its ranks.” he said.
As for Jordan, he said “ISIL has no plans to attack Jordan or has any future plans against it “This comes despite Jordanian participation in the air strikes against ISIL. The Arab Daily News has reported earlier that Jordan’s King Abdullah II has offered to send Jordanian Special Forces to attack ISIL positions and command and control centers in Syria during NATO Summit last month.
Ali Younes is the Editor of the Arab Daily News, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @clearali
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