The Fall of Aleppo Is a Huge Gift to ISIS

how Aleppo makes it seem Sunni areas will be destroyed with or without ISIS


The fall of Aleppo to a consortium of Iranian-built militias backed by Russian airpower and special forces constitutes not only a loud victory for Damascus but also a quieter one for ISIS, or the Islamic State, which mounted a surprise attack that retook the ancient city of Palmyra.

The contrast could not have been starker or a more clear vindication of one of ISIS’s longest-running propaganda tropes: the “infidels” and “apostates” will do nothing to save Sunni Arabs from the pillage, rape, and barrel bombs of the Russians, Alawites, and Shia. But Aleppo’s fall also buttresses one of the lesser-scrutinized claims made by ISIS’s former spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, shortly before his demise.

In May, months before he was taken out by a U.S. airstrike, Adnani issued what would turn out to be a final communiqué refuting a common Sunni criticism of ISIS, namely that the group’s takeover of Sunni towns and cities invariably brought only devastation. See Fallujah and Ramadi. For Adnani, however, such devastation was never the fault of ISIS, as rival jihadist enterprises had discovered at their peril.

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