A new online map shows 117 jihadi training camps in war-torn Iraq and Syria, including dozens belonging to the Islamic State.
The Long War Journal, a leading online resource for terrorist studies, released the interactive map Sunday. Several dozen out of those 117 are inactive camps, destroyed or disabled by U.S.-led airstrikes, while others are currently in use.
The map, embedded below, marks ISIS camps in red, al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra’s camps in black, and camps for Nusra’s Syrian allies in blue. (RELATED: Al-Qaida Competes With ISIS By Subsidizing Local Police)
Sites that have been the target of an airstrike are marked with a “flame” icon.
The comprehensive map is based on data drawn from “jihadist videos and images, news accounts, and US military press releases that note airstrikes against the training facilities,” according to LWJ.
LWJ claims 37 camps have sprung up since February alone in the two countries. It also says 11 camps across the two countries are dedicated to the training and indoctrination of children. (RELATED: New ISIS Video Features Kid Executioner)
ISIS propaganda has boasted about many of its training facilities, including schools for the next generation of jihadi warriors. Some of its camps are especially focused on particular demographics, such as Russian speakers or women. (RELATED: US-Accented Podcast Is Tip Of ISIS Marketing Spear)
As the map shows, Islamic State dominates the jihadi scene in Iraq, with the possible aid of the rarely-studied freelance terrorist group Ansar al-Islam. Many of its camps in northern Syria have been bombed, including one in the now-reclaimed Kurdish city of Kobani.
But in central, northwestern and southern Syria, it apparently still maintains training camps to compete on the ground against its rivals in Jabhat al-Nusra and the rest of the Syrian opposition.
And for its part, Jabhat al-Nusra seems to conserve its own resources through leveraging alliances in western Syria. Especially around the battleground cities of Aleppo and Homs, the al-Qaida affiliate has led the charge against ISIS while depending on other groups, whose numerous training camps provide support for Nusra’s jihadi fight.
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