The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, alternatively translated as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, is a Salafi jihadist militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam. The group is also known as Daesh, which is an acronym derived from its Arabic name. Founder: : Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, 1999. ISIS proclaimed a worldwide caliphate in June 2014[36][37] and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph. As of December 2015, the group has control over vast landlocked territory in Iraq and Syria, with a population estimate ranging between 2.8 million[41] and 8 million people[42] and where it enforces its interpretation of sharia law. ISIL affiliates control small areas of Libya, Nigeria and Afghanistan and operate in other parts of the world, including North Africa and South Asia.

How Islamic State’s Caliphate Crumbled

from The Wall Street Journal,

Maps tell the story of the terror group’s violent rise and fall in Syria and Iraq—and show where the homecoming of ISIS foreign recruits poses the next challenge.

In 2014, a terror group once affiliated with al Qaeda blitzed across Iraq and Syria—and into global headlines—in a military campaign aimed at establishing a new caliphate. At the height of its power, Islamic State is estimated to have controlled a third of Iraq and about half of Syria. An array of local forces, many of them backed by a U.S.-led coalition, fought back over the years that followed. A series of battles led to the recapture of cities held by the extremists, and the self-proclaimed caliphate began to shrink. Last month, Islamic State was pushed out of its last urban stronghold in the two countries. These maps tell the story of the terror group’s rise and fall.

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