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ISIS Propaganda ‘Collapses’ As US Tightens Noose In Iraq, Syria

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. There had previously been reports on social media that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would make his first public appearance since his Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) changed its name to the Islamic State and declared him caliph. The Iraqi government denied that the video, which carried Friday's date, was credible. It was also not possible to immediately confirm the authenticity of the recording or the date when it was made. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT OF THIS VIDEO, WHICH HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - GM1EA76056301

The Islamic State’s propaganda apparatus is significantly slowing down in the wake of multiple battlefield victories against the terrorist group by U.S. backed forces in Iraq and Syria, Senior Research Fellow Charlie Winter at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation noted Wednesday.

The terror group only produced one-third the amount of propaganda it did two years earlier when it enjoyed safe havens in multiple cities across Iraq and Syria. U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over ISIS’s capital of Raqqa Tuesday, following months of losses for the terrorist group in Iraq.

Battlefield and personnel losses have also led to the dormancy of several previously important ISIS media outlets that amplified the group’s message. Winter’s graphic demonstrates how near total the loss in propaganda distribution has occurred for the terrorist group.

Winter also noted that the group’s propaganda is much more focused on ongoing warfare rather than depicting life in the caliphate as an Islamic “utopia.”

ISIS still, however, maintains thousands of militants in Iraq and Syria operating largely out of the middle Euphrates River Valley in Syria, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi is thought to be hiding by U.S. military commanders. The group also maintains active affiliates in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines, and tribal alliances elsewhere which can carry out operations long after the defeat of its core group in Iraq and Syria.

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Saagar Enjeti
the authorSaagar Enjeti
National Security/Foreign Policy Reporter

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