The Islamic State in the 'Badiya' region of Syria: Interview with the Group's Military Official
There has been some controversy over the nature of the Islamic State’s insurgency in the ‘Badiya’ region of Syria (i.e. a region centred on the Homs desert area, whose most well-known urban centre is Palmyra, as well as surrounding areas in western Deir az-Zor, southern Raqqa and eastern Hama that are sparsely populated). The Islamic State in general has had very little to say about its activities in the region, only occasionally issuing official claims of operations.
In contrast, non-Islamic State reporting- whether in the form of casualties for Syrian government forces announced on Facebook pages or pro-opposition/opposition insurgency reports- suggests an Islamic State insurgency that is more active than the very sparse official Islamic State claims might suggest. The most recent noteworthy analysis to tackle the question of the Islamic State in the Badiya region is a lengthy report published by Crisis Group, which suggests that the Syrian government and its allies managed to scale back Islamic State activity in the Badiya region over the course of 2021 following a surge in attacks in 2019-2020. Per Crisis Group, this has resulted in a diminishment in Islamic State activity, but the vastness of the Badiya region and the difficulty of completely eliminating the Islamic State there means that occasional deadly attacks may occur. That is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
The Islamic State has now decided to provide some detailed coverage of the Badiya area, publishing in this week’s issue of the al-Naba’ newsletter an interview with the “military official for the mujahideen” in the area. Some notable points: