Check out my new ‘Policy Watch’ for the Washington Institute: "Al-Qaeda in Syria: A Closer Look at ISIS (Part I)"

In August, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) bolstered its growing reputation as a key player in the jihad against the Syrian regime, participating in the takeover of Minakh air base in Aleppo governorate, the offensive in the regime heartland of Latakia, and other operations. Similar to Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), the other al-Qaeda-aligned group currently fighting in Syria, ISIS has attempted to ingratiate itself to the local populace through dawa (missionary activities) and other social outreach. Whether or not this adaptation is sustainable remains to be seen, but up to this point, ISIS has kept itself in check and made progress on the ground.
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