In a new video purportedly released by the Islamic State titled “The Course of Battles in Jazirah Wilayah,” ISIS militants north of Mosul in “Wilayat al-Jazira” are shown conducting attacks against the Iraqi Army and the American coalition. “Wilayah” is a secondary anglicization for the Arabic word “wilayat,” which means “state.” The so-called Islamic State is made up of a multitude of occupied regions it calls “states.”
Wilayat al-Jazira is a newer state in the ISIS organization and was once part of “Wilayat Ninawa,” which includes Mosul. According to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, vulnerable cities in Wilayat al-Jazira include: “Tal ‘Afar, Al-Ba’aj, Al-‘Ayadiyyah, Al-Mahlabiyyah, Sinjar, Wardiyyah, Sanuni, Khana Sor, Ibrat al-Saghira, Al-Badi, [and] Al-Qanat.”
The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on November 30. The region fell to ISIS in June 2014. Last month, the American coalition, consisting of the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias, Christian militias, and the Turkish Nineveh Guard, descended upon Mosul to free it from the Islamic State. The official operation began on October 17 when it was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Tal Afar has been a main hub of ISIS activity outside of Mosul. The city is 40 miles west of Mosul and was the location that ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi fled to as the coalition began their retaking of Mosul. In late November, new reports state that al-Baghdadi has since fled Tal Afar.
In the video, ISIS militants are seen conducting attacks on coalition forces. At 11:10, ISIS is also shown destroying Shia mosques and graves. ISIS is a Sunni Muslim extremist organization and refers to the majority Shia Iraqi Army as “rafidi.” Rafidi is a derogatory term for Shia Muslims used by Sunnis. It means “rejectors” because Shia Muslims believe in a different line of successorship for Islam following the death of its founder Muhammad. ISIS commonly uses it to refer to the Iraqi government as a whole, which is backed by Shia Iran.
The video ends with a suicide car bomb operation, also known as a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack.