Germany fighting ISIS
Germany fighting ISIS

Time Magazine on October 9, 2015  published a time line of ISIS from 2004-2014 Tara John, “Timeline: The Rise of ISIS.” Here are excerpts:

2004 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi establishes Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who had been a leading jihadist insurgency against the US coalition forces in Iraq, declares his allegiance to Osama bib Laden and changes groups name to AQI.

2006 Zarqawi is killed and replaced by Ayyub al-Masri

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who had been steadily loosing support in Iraq due to his attacks against Muslims, is killed by U.S.airstrikes. He is succeeded by Ayyub al-Masri.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

October 15, 2006 Al-Masra announces creation of Islamic State in Iraq (ISI)

Sunni Tribesmen begin campaign to kill AQI members. In an aim to regain local support AQI is rebranded to Islamic State in Iraq (ISI).

April 2010 ISI makes Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi leader

After death of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who blew himself up after being ambushed by a U.S. Iraqi force, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is chosen to be ISI’s next leader.

May 9, 2013 ISI is rebranded as ISIS

ISI announces merger with al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, taking the name “al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al- Iraq wa al-Sham,” which translates to the Islamic State in Iraq and greater Syria (ISIS).

January 4, 2014 ISIS takes control of Fallujah

After days of fighting, ISIS takes full control of Fallujah, a city 43 miles west of Baghdad, Iraq.

The city was the site of one of the biggest battles between international forced and insurgents during the Iraq war in 2004.

ISIS Ramadi
ISIS Ramadi

January 14, 2014 ISIS takes control of Syrian city of Raqqa

After clashes with other opposition groups, ISIS captures the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city will become its de facto headquarters.

February 3, 2014 Al-Qaeda cuts ties with ISIS

Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is frustrated by group’s expansion into Syria and its extreme methods, cuts ties with ISIS.


June 10, 2014 Lighting advance in city of Mosul

ISIS takes the Iraqi city of Mosul after Iraqi soldiers abandon their posts. The soldiers claim their commanders abandoned them.

June 11, 2014 ISIS seize Tikrit

Two days later, ISIS makes its second biggest gain by capturing Tikrit. Around 50,000 people fled the city, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein.

June 29, 2014 Declaration of a new Islamic caliphate

ISIS anounces the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state to claim dominion over Muslims across the globe. It also declares Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph, the successor to the Prophet Mohammed.

ISIS e84e96886
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

August 7, 2014 President Barack Obama authorizes air strikes

Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq so as to prevent the Kurdish city of Erbil and break the siege on Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis had fled after being threatened with genocide.

August 19, 2014 American journalist James Foley is executed

ISIS releases video of James Foley apparently beheaded by the ISIS operative nicknamed “Jihadi John” who is later identified as Muhammed Emwazi. They warn of more beheadings to come if U.S. airstrikes are not called off.


September 2, 2014 Video of American Journalist of Steven Sotloff execution

ISIS released video of Steven Sotloff, a former Time contributor, being beheaded. He is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS in two weeks.

September 10, 2014 President Barack Obama vows to confront ISIS

During a prime time televised event, the U.S. President Barack Obama says he will “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS while vowing not to put American combat boots on foreign soil.

September 13, 2014 ISIS executes British Aid worker, David Haines

In similar format to Foley and Sotloff before him, a video is released of British aid worker, David Haines being beheaded by “Jihadi John.”

David Hines, executed
David Hines, executed

September 18, 2014 British journalist John Cantlie features in propaganda video

John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012, appears in the first of a series of propaganda videos delivering a “message” to the public as ISIS’s captive.

September 19, 2014 ISIS begins four months siege on Kobane.

ISIS besieges the Kurdish town of Kobane, which is on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey. Over 130,000 refugees cross the border into Turkey.

Peter Kassig, executed
Peter Kassig, executed

September 22, 2014 U.S. and five Arab allies begin air strikes in Syria.

The U.S. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan launch an attack on ISIS target in Syria, the first coalition military action by regional powers since the 1991 Gulf War.

ISIS spokesman calls for home grown terrorism in the west.

A video is released of ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammed al-Adnani calling for supporters in the west to carry out individual acts of terrorism.

Herve Gourdel, executed
Herve Gourdel, executed

September 24, 2014 ISIS affiliate in Algeria behead French citizen

French tourist Herve Gourdel is beheaded by militants aligned with ISIS in Algeria. The militants were apparently responding to Adnani’s call for homegrown terrorism.

October 2014 Libyan city of Derna falls under ISIS affiliate’s control

Derna becomes the first city in Libya under the control of an ISIS affiliate. The city’s proximity to Europe sparks concern as it is in the Mediterranean coast.

John Cantie, executed
John Cantie, executed

October 3, 2014 Video of Alan Henning’s execution is released

ISIS releases a video showing the beheading of British citizen Alan Henning. Henning, 47, was abducted in 2013, shortly after crossing Turkish border into Syria in an aid convoy.

November 13, 2014 ISIS leader claims the caliphate has expanded.

In an audio message, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announces the expansion of ISIS’s self proclaimed caliphate. It now includes areas in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria and Egypt.

November 16, 2014 ISIS beheads American Hostage, Peter Kassig

Peter Kassig, who took the name of Abul-Rahman when he converted to Islam, became the fifth westerner to die in an ISIS beheading video.


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