Damascus – The Islamic State (ISIS) on Sunday threatened to invade Damascus, Syria’s capital city. ISIS said that their invasion was imminent and vowed to strike at Syrian security forces and the armed opposition.
“Fighters of the Caliphate are preparing to enter the heart of al-Sham [Damascus],” the extremist group said in a statement. In the same statement, ISIS promised to apply the Islamic State’s puritanical interpretation of Sharia law throughout the capital.
ISIS has been in control of a residential block in southern Damascus since it drove out al-Qaeda-splinter group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and allied rebel factions, in April 2015. Jahbat Fateh al-Sham was previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.
Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood is believed to be the Islamic State’s primary staging area. Their militants also control the nearby Yarmouk and Tadamun districts.
ISIS has accused the rebel groups in Damascus of working on behalf of Assad’s government and being apostates. “The time has come for the Caliphate’s fighters to take al-Sham [Damascus] from the infidels and their mercenaries,” the extremist group said.
Syrian journalist Mustafa Abde told ARA News that ISIS would likely try to open new fronts in southern Syria to direct attention from northern Iraq, where the group is hemorrhaging.
Abde argued that: “This announcement comes after the group started to lose ground in Iraq amid deteriorating morale among its militants. ISIS is seeking new so-called victories to regain its reputation as a strong organisation.”
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News