ALEPPO, Syria — The spectacular and shocking offensive in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) that has seen the extremist terror group take large areas in the west of the country, including its second largest city, Mosul, has the entire region and the world rightly worried. ISIS is said to boast an army of 10,000 fierce fighters, more than $2 billion in assets and huge caches of weapons and equipment seized from the Iraqi army, making it a serious threat to global security. The ISIS resurgence in Iraq feeds off the group's escapades in Syria, where it developed from welcomed liberator to despised villain. Will history repeat itself in Iraq?
Abu Jimaa is a middle-aged man with a large family who hails from the town of Bayanoun, a town in Aleppo’s north countryside well-known for its religious conservatism and as the birthplace of many of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria from the al-Bayanouni family. When the Syrian conflict escalated and became armed, Abu Jimaa took up weapons along with many of his townsfolk and joined a local rebel militia. In January, he was involved in routing ISIS from Bayanoun, after their successful advance into the northern countryside, starting with the border town of Azaz, near the Turkish border.