Islamic State leaders are banning televisions, cell phones and satellite dishes in the caliphate’s de facto capital as the terrorist group continues to lose territory.
ISIS leaders have restricted the use of all forms of communication since the group’s rise in 2014, but they have become increasingly worried as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces surround Raqqa from the north and east.
“We’re now seeing signs that ISIS fighters, its leaders in Raqqa, are beginning to feel the pressure,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian told reporters Wednesday. “Specifically, they’re becoming increasingly paranoid. They’ve increased population control measures in Raqqa by seeking to remove or destroy televisions, searching houses for mobile phones and satellite dishes in order to maintain control of news and access to information about their losses.”
ISIS authorities have long restricted communication within the so-called caliphate since its rise in 2014, but they have become increasingly harsh as paranoia runs rampant.
The terrorist group lost nearly 8,000 square miles of territory in 2016, including several major population centers in both Iraq and Syria. In addition to Raqqa, ISIS is also on the verge of losing Mosul, its de facto capital in Iraq. The Iraqi Security Forces successfully retook the eastern portion of the city in late January, and are in the midst of assaulting the western side.
“Along the way, the ISF have encountered moderate resistance, which we expect to stiffen as they approach the more densely populated areas,” said Dorrian.
ISIS has issued massive amounts of propaganda lauding its attacks in Western Europe in recent months, ostensibly in attempt to distract from ongoing losses in the land caliphate.
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