On March 10, ISIS announced the new leader of the organization: Abu Al-Hassan Al-hashemi Al-Qurayshi. This may be the brother of the organization’s former leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (eliminated in October 2019 by the USA). The new leader’s real name is Jamaa Awad al-Badri; he is from Iraq like his brother. He was a close companion of al-Baghdadi and served as his close adviser. Upon the announcement, the organization posted photos of the oath of allegiance of the organization’s activists in the various areas of operation.
ISIS operates in Syria against Syrian security targets and Shiite militias. Its activities are characterized by guerrilla warfare in small groups and are mainly concentrated in the geographical area of northeastern Syria. In Lebanon, ISIS is recruiting Sunni youth, mainly from northern Lebanon, for its activities in Syria and Iraq. Reports are published about Lebanese youths who were killed as part of ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq from time to time. In addition, Lebanese security forces occasionally expose Lebanese terrorist cells operating under ISIS auspices.
On March 4, a bus carrying Syrian soldiers was attacked by gunmen, apparently ISIS operatives, east of Palmyra. Fifteen soldiers were killed (including senior officers) and 18 were wounded. In another attack by shooters, apparently ISIS operatives, in the eastern desert area of Palmyra, three Syrian army soldiers were killed.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, jihadist elements affiliated with ISIS and Al Qaeda have expressed satisfaction that the Christians are fighting each other. ISIS-affiliated sources have also called on supporters of the organization in Russia and Ukraine to take advantage of the situation to attack local Christians.