The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
(ISIS) first formed during the Iraq war as a fledgling terrorist group aligned with al Qaeda, and has since struck out on its own to control vast swaths of territory straddling Iraq and Syria. A major turning point in its rise happened a year ago, when it declared itself a nation, to which, it said, all Muslims must pledge. Below is a look at some of the major events in the year since ISIS decided it wanted to establish a state and conquer the world.
- June 29: Several weeks after seizing Mosul in Iraq, ISIS declares the Islamic Caliphate.
- July 5: The first-ever appearance by the Caliph of Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon from the Grand mosque in Mosul.
- August 2: ISIS launches a new offensive in Sinjar, targeting the Yazidi minority group, killing men, and enslaving and raping women.
- August 8: The U.S. launches its first anti-ISIS airstrikes to stop their advance into Kurdish regions in northern Iraq.
- August 18: The crucial Mosul Dam is reclaimed by Iraqi and Kurd forces.
- August 19- September 13: U.S. journalist James Foley, U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines were killed in videotaped executions posted online.
- September 23: The U.S.-led coalition campaign launches its first anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria, attempting to aid Kurdish fighters defending the strategically crucial town of Kobani on the Turkish border.
- November 10: Fighters in Libya pledge allegiance to Baghdadi, and ISIS' Libya Branch is created. (ISIS announcement video)
- November 10: Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a longtime Egyptian radical Islamic terrorist group, releases audio pledging allegiance to Baghdadi. ISIS' Sinai branch is created.
- December 21: Peshmerga, backed by coalition airstrikes, push ISIS out of Mount Sinjar, where the Yazidi population had been under siege.
- January 26: Kurdish YPG spokesman Polat Jan announces the liberation of Kobani and the defeat of ISIS after 4 months of intense fighting and hundreds of coalition airstrikes.
- January 29: Hafiz Saeed Khan and Abdul Rauf swear an oath of allegiance to Baghdadi, and ISIS Korasan is established in Afghanistan.
- March 8: The leader of the bloodthirsty Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram pledges allegiance to Baghdadi.
- March 31: Iraqi security forces backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes drive ISIS out of the city of Tikrit.
- April 24: ISIS' Yemen branch is launched. They pledge allegiance to Baghdadi in an online video.
- May 15: ISIS seizes control of Ramadi after yet another unexplained withdrawal by Iraqi forces.
- June 16: Kurdish YPG fighters, along with Free Syrian Army troops, backed by coalition air cover seize the border crossing of Tel Abyad and cut off a vital supply route to ISIS' de facto capital Raqqa in Syria's north.