IHS Analysis - Islamist Militants Seize Minnagh Air Base
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IHS Analysis - Islamist Militants Seize Minnagh Air Base

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Late on 5 August, a joint force of Islamist militants, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – a front group of Al-Qaeda in Iraq – seized control of the Minnagh Air Base north of the ...

Late on 5 August, a joint force of Islamist militants, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – a front group of Al-Qaeda in Iraq – seized control of the Minnagh Air Base north of the city of Aleppo in Syria’s Aleppo governorate. The capture followed a sustained militant siege of the base since late 2012 and comes amid a clear increase in the strategic influence of Islamists within Syria’s armed opposition.

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IHS Analysis - Islamist Militants Seize Minnagh Air Base IHS Analysis - Islamist Militants Seize Minnagh Air Base Presentation Transcript

  • Islamist militants seize Minnagh Air Base Analysis from Charles Lister, IHS Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Centre Analyst
  • Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 2 The story • On 5 August a joint force of Islamist militants seized control of the Minnagh Air Base north of the city of Aleppo in Syria’s Aleppo governorate • The force was led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, a front group of Al-Qaeda in Iraq • The capture follows a sustained militant siege of the base since late 2012 • It comes amid a clear increase in the strategic influence of Islamists within Syria’s armed opposition
  • Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 3 Context – Jihadist siege • The siege of Minnagh had been ongoing since October 2012 • The previous six months have seen jihadist militant groups assume the lead role in the operation • Jaish al-Muhajireen wa Ansar dominated the siege in recent months, particularly since it merged with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in early June • Composed entirely of foreign fighters, Jaish al-Muhajireen wa Ansar is the most significant recruiter of non-Syrians to the Syrian battlefield • Other key participating groups included Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al- Islamiyya, Liwa al-Fateh, and Asafat al-Shamal
  • Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 4 Outlook and implications • The capture of Minnagh will allow participating groups to re- distribute their forces to fronts further south: the ongoing siege of Aleppo International Airport, and the governorate capital itself • Increased militant Islamist tempo in other principal Aleppo fronts will likely develop • Further consolidation of territorial influence in northern Aleppo probable • This latest militant victory in Syria will provide a morale boost to the wider opposition • The victory is another example of the rising strategic profile of Islamist militants in northern Syria • Suggestion is that jihadist militants are in Syria for the long term
  • Copyright © 2012 IHS Inc. 5 This rapid reaction piece has been abridged from more in-depth analysis in IHS Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Centre. www.ihs.com/jtic