NO TO SYKES-PICOT: As the fallout continues Wednesday from the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham’s seizure of the Iraqi city of Mosul, the al-Qaeda offshoot’s combatants circulated a map depicting unimpeded ISIS control over a 700-kilometer stretch of western Syria and eastern Aleppo.
“The areas in #Iraq and #Syria under ISIS control, notice where all the oil fields are,” an ISIS combatant calling himself “Mujahid Brudda” posted on Twitter.
The combatant shared a map ISIS claims to control: all of Syria’s a-Raqqa province, as well as large swaths of Syria’s Aleppo, Deir e-Zor and Hasakeh provinces and the Iraqi provinces of Salah a-Din, Anbar and Nineva.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi government announceda “state of emergency” after ISIS forces stormed Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, forcing the Iraqi army to withdraw and seizing control of the provincial capital.
The extremist group’s advance in Iraq has raised fears in Syria that the al-Qaeda splinter group will be further emboldened by an influx of new recruits and resources.
Between hundreds and thousands of Iraqi prisoners were freed when ISIS seized three Mosul prisons on Tuesday, while on Wednesday, the group was closing in on Iraq’s largest oil refineryin the Salah a-Din Province town of Bajji, 200 kilometers south of Mosul.
In seizing Mosul, the group also captured a cache of Iraqi weaponry. Analyst Charles Lister warnedthat Iraqi forces “maintain a group of F-60 helicopters” at Mosul Airport, which ISIS has seized partial control over.
Elsewhere on social media, ISIS combatants shared photos of the group destroying the borders drawn by the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, using bulldozers to physically “demolish” the border between Syria and Iraq.
Since late 2013, ISIS in Syria has primarily engaged in conflict with other rebel groups, most recently in the eastern, oil-rich province of Deir e-Zor. Since April 30th, 130,000 Syrians have fled fighting between ISIS and rebels led by Jabhat a-Nusra in Deir e-Zor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.