Armin Rosen explains ISIS’s expanding grip on Iraq and Syria:
ISIS operates across a vast geographic area. Jalula, Iraq, the easternmost population center under ISIS’s control, is over 360 miles from Raqqah, Syria, the group’s westernmost zone of control. ISIS sprawls across the Iraqi-Syrian border. It’s attacked inside of Iraqi Kurdistan, sits at the doorstep of Syria’s Alawaite heartland, and has broad operational abilities inside Iraq’s Sunni Triangle, and even its Shi’ite south. ISIS cuts across ethnic and sectarian regions, controlling major cities and desert wilderness.
And they are far from finished:
Sources told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that gunmen had set up checkpoints around Tikrit, which lies between the capital Baghdad and Mosul, which was [captured] by ISIL [aka ISIS] on Tuesday. “All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants,” a police colonel told the AFP news agency. A police brigadier general told AFP that fighters attacked from the north, west and south of the city, and that they were from ISIL. A police major told the agency that the militants had freed about 300 inmates from a prison in the city, the capital of Salaheddin province.
Meanwhile, sources said the nearby city of Kirkuk, home to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, was also being attacked by ISIL.