Friday, September 15, 2023

Salafi-Jihadi Movement Update, September 13: SDF Lose Legitimacy in Deir ez Zor, al Qaeda and the Islamic State expand in West Africa, TTP Launches Offensive in Pakistan

Authors: Brian Carter, Kathryn Tyson, Peter Mills

Data Cutoff: September 13, 2023, at 10 a.m.

Key Takeaways:

Iraq and Syria. The tactics the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) used in recent clashes with Arab tribes in Deir ez Zor province undermined SDF legitimacy, which will very likely impede its ability to reestablish control in the province. The SDF’s loss of legitimacy will make achieving its counter-ISIS objectives more difficult.

Mali. Al Qaeda–linked and IS-linked militants are continuing to expand in northern Mali and threatening to control major population centers. Al Qaeda–linked militants are exploiting the void left by withdrawing UN forces to besiege and coerce regional capitals in northern Mali, while IS-linked militants are setting conditions to control a regional capital they have encircled since April. Both groups’ growing control over northern Mali increases the risk that they could generate a transnational attack threat.

Afghanistan-Pakistan. Pakistani security forces will likely fail to defeat Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) cross-border attacks in northern Pakistan. The Taliban is unwilling and incapable of stopping TTP cross-border attacks, which will likely enable the TTP to conduct future attacks in Pakistan.


Iraq and Syria

Author: Brian Carter

The tactics the SDF used in recent clashes with Arab tribes in Deir ez Zor province undermined its legitimacy, which will very likely impede the SDF’s ability to reestablish control in the province. The SDF fought local tribes for control of SDF-administered Deir ez Zor province between August 27 and September 10.[1] The SDF commander issued a “general amnesty” for tribal fighters on September 8, after the bulk of the fighting, and offered to meet with tribal leaders without offering specific further concessions.[2]

Local Arab media is reporting that the SDF is arresting local notables, killing civilians, and carrying out mass arrests in the areas that saw fighting between the SDF and local tribes, in contrast with the announced “general amnesty.”[3] Tribal leaders are demanding negotiations solely with the US-led coalition and refuse to negotiate with the SDF, indicating that tribal leaders no longer see the SDF as a legitimate force.[4]

Arab SDF formations are also defecting en masse, which suggests Arab fighters no longer believe the SDF can legitimately lead them.[5] Local media reported isolated defections from SDF civil governance structures in Deir ez Zor.[6] Some of the towns affected by the tribal-SDF conflict are already devoid of civil government due to ISIS activity.[7]

  • The SDF’s relationship with local communities is breaking down amid the SDF’s post-conflict crackdown. The SDF is arresting local notables, killing civilians during arrests, and burning and looting civilian homes in retaliation for the tribal attacks against the SDF.[8] Local Arab media is amplifying these SDF abuses and framing the SDF as a foreign, external force beholden to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).[9]
  • Tribal leaders are calling for greater local development projects to improve the economy, Arab-led military and civil councils under US-led coalition supervision, and a locally recruited internal security force in Deir ez Zor.[10] Tribal leaders involved in the fighting are only willing to negotiate with the US-led coalition, citing a lack of trust in the SDF.[11] The same leaders also demand the US-led coalition guarantee any agreement.[12]
  • SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi is not willing to grant tribal independence, suggesting that tensions between the two parties will continue. Abdi initially offered no concessions beyond a “general amnesty” before meeting with tribal leaders, though he recognized “mistakes” in local governance.[13] The amnesty was not upheld, however, and SDF arrests of locals continued.[14] Abdi also discussed “reducing tribal sheikhs’ authorities” and “restructuring the military and civil councils” in Deir ez Zor with Deiri intellectuals on September 12, indicating Abdi does not intend to grant substantial concessions to the tribes and aims to undermine tribal leadership further.[15]

The SDF’s loss of legitimacy will make achieving the SDF’s counter-ISIS objectives more difficult. Effective intelligence collection in local communities, which requires trust between locals and SDF forces, enables the SDF’s ability to conduct counter-ISIS operations.[16] A loss of trust between the local communities and the SDF will increase the SDF’s difficulty in collecting intelligence. Local Arabs are using hit-and-run attacks to eject the SDF from Deir ez Zor, which means the SDF will be focused on protecting itself from both ISIS and tribal attacks, which will limit offensive operations against ISIS.[17]

ISIS propaganda is presenting ISIS as a third option, which almost certainly aims to take advantage of the SDF’s decreasing legitimacy in Deir ez Zor to increase recruitment. ISIS released propaganda on August 31 and September 6 that sought to emphasize the group’s strength and religious legitimacy. It also highlighted northeastern Syria’s flawed security model on August 31, claiming that the SDF has “completely lost” the security situation. The propaganda also argued that the Arab tribes are not a reliable partner for any party, due to their “ignorance and tribalism” and refusal to “fight for . . . God.”[18]

  • ISIS propaganda is presenting ISIS as a third option for local communities. ISIS said on August 31 that fighting for either the tribes or the SDF is “ignorant,” and that “Muslims . . . must do their utmost to avoid” the fighting.[19] ISIS is emphasizing its religious legitimacy as part of this effort, by arguing that ISIS is fighting against a pre-Islamic system that will be followed by a “divine system.”[20]
  • ISIS is also seeking to portray itself as the sole successful security provider in Syria. ISIS claimed the SDF has “completely lost” the security situation, arguing that ISIS’s use of shari’a law prevented “fear and ruin.”[21] The group added that security and “happiness” will not return until the people submit to shari’a law.[22] ISIS emphasized the tribes’ refusal to “fight for god” and castigated those supporting and relying on the tribes because “events have proven the failure of reliance upon them.”[23]
  • ISIS is using its propaganda arm to extol its military success, which it uses to increase recruitment. ISIS’s insurgency follows a military approach, achieving its policy goals through “focusing on causing the [governing authority] to lose legitimacy by insurgent success.”[24] The group said that anti-ISIS forces are fearful of ISIS, despite their massive anti-ISIS alliance. ISIS argued this is due to the threat ISIS forces pose in “all regions in which [it is] active on the ground.”[25] ISIS said that its enemies are “helpless” and will face a “fate like the day of Mosul,” in reference to the June 2014 ISIS capture of Mosul.[26]

Figure 1. ISIS Attacks and Tribal Insurgent Activity

Source: Brian Carter.

ISIS could also make common cause with tribal insurgents to attack SDF forces, increasing ISIS freedom of movement while also threatening to co-opt tribal insurgents. ISIS did this previously in Iraq by co-opting secular, nationalist insurgents into their camp.[27] Tribal insurgents are attacking in areas where ISIS also frequently attacks.[28] The tribes’ stronghold during the anti-SDF fight was Dhiban, a town where SDF units defected in 2022 in the face of ISIS threats and where ISIS has continued to execute support activities, such as zakat collection.[29] Both ISIS and the tribal insurgents seek to undermine and eventually expel the SDF from Deir ez Zor, which creates opportunities for both groups to interact and support one another.[30]

Figure 2. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in the Middle East

Source: Kathryn Tyson.


Author: Liam Karr

Al Qaeda–linked militants have significantly increased the rate and severity of attacks in northern Mali since early July as part of a broader effort to establish control over major population centers and supply lines. The increase exploits the void left by withdrawing UN forces, who began to leave Mali in late June. Al Qaeda’s Sahelian affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wa al Muslimeen (JNIM) quintupled its rate of attack in northern Mali in July and August compared to the first half of 2023.[31]

This escalation continued in September. JNIM conducted its first suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack against security forces in northern Mali since November 2018. It also ambushed a civilian passenger boat, killing nearly 50 civilians.[32] This uptick coincides with the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) beginning its withdrawal from Mali, and many of the attacks have been near UN bases where UN troops are preparing to withdraw or have already withdrawn.[33]

  • JNIM killed 49 civilians in an attack on a transit boat on September 7 and launched a multi-SVBIED attack targeting the Gao airport on September 8 that it claimed killed dozens.[34] The September 7 attack is the deadliest JNIM attack against civilians in northern Mali in 2023, excluding attacks related to fighting with Islamic State militants.
  • The UN Security Council unanimously voted on June 30 to end its peacekeeping mission in Mali by the end of 2023 at the Malian government’s request.[35] MINUSMA announced a withdrawal plan on July 5 and withdrew from its bases in Ber, Goundam, and Menaka in August 2023.[36] JNIM attacked 10 times within 10 miles of six different MINUSMA bases in northern Mali since UN forces began withdrawing in July.

Figure 3. JNIM Attacks in Northern Mali in 2023

Source: Liam Karr.

JNIM will likely use sieges and asymmetric attacks to establish control over major population centers and transit routes in northern Mali. JNIM increased its rate of attacks near Timbuktu and Gao and has attacked closer to the city limits since July, indicating it aims to isolate these regional capitals.[37] It has also tried to cut the towns off by targeting their airports, which has led Sky Mali to halt all flights into and out of both towns for at least a week.[38]

In mid-August, JNIM announced it was besieging Timbuktu until Malian army and Wagner forces withdraw.[39] JNIM uses these tactics to undermine government legitimacy by demonstrating that the Malian army cannot protect civilians. It is then able to coerce vulnerable civilians into pro-JNIM cease-fire deals, solidifying its place as the de facto authority.

  • JNIM has attacked within 20 miles of Timbuktu five times since MINUSMA began withdrawing, compared to only two times in the first half of 2023.[40] It has also attacked within 20 miles of Gao four times since MINUSMA began withdrawing, which it had not done in the first half of 2023.[41]
  • JNIM has regularly used siege tactics to coerce civilians into peace deals in central Mali.[42] Local leaders will agree to adopt forms of shari’a, taxation, and noncooperation with security forces in exchange for an end to the siege.[43] These deals make security forces in the area extremely vulnerable by removing their local support and intelligence.[44]
  • JNIM’s siege of Timbuktu has caused supply shortages and inflation, leading the Timbuktu mayor to create a commission of ethnic and religious leaders in late August to negotiate with JNIM.[45]

JNIM’s control of northern Mali could generate a transnational attack threat. Al Qaeda–linked militants in JNIM have carried out regional terror attacks, and the group still aspires to build external attack capabilities targeting the West, despite giving priority to their locally focused insurgency in recent years.[46] JNIM’s growing support zones in northern Mali will give it access to the space, resources, and recruitment pools needed to stage regional or international terror attacks. Some JNIM leaders have threatened to attack Europe and the US, which indicates some factions would support transnational plots even if most group leadership does not give priority to rebuilding external attack capabilities.[47]

The Islamic State’s Sahel Province (ISSP) is consolidating and expanding control over the tri-border area of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and could attempt to establish control over a Malian regional capital in the coming months. UN experts said in July that ISSP almost doubled the territory it controls over the past year.[48] The decrease in the rate and severity of inter-jihadi violence between JNIM and ISSP and ISSP’s enforcement of its interpretation of Islamic law in the Menaka region further supports the assessment that ISSP has established support zones throughout the region.[49]

The group has encircled Menaka town since early April 2023, but it lacked the administrative structures and troops to control the town.[50] However, the increased application of shari’a in surrounding areas indicates that ISSP has established a functional judicial office that is capable of enforcing arrests and punishments in areas the group controls. The decrease in conflict with JNIM in the Menaka region also frees its forces to concentrate on Menaka.

  • ISSP’s enforcement of its interpretation of Islamic law supports the UN assessment that ISSP has greater control in the Menaka region. ISSP has carried out shari’a punishments at least five times since June 2023.[51]
  • IS’s weekly newsletter on August 24 highlighted at least three instances of shari’a punishments in mid-August alone.[52] These rulings have taken place in the Menaka region and the southernmost district in the Gao region. ISSP and JNIM have continued to average nearly eight engagements per quarter since mid-2022.[53] However, ISSP has not clashed with JNIM in the Menaka region since April 2023, when it seized the town of Tidermene and encircled Menaka town.[54]

Figure 4. ISSP Shari’a Implementation in Northeastern Mali

Source: Liam Karr.

ISSP may try to establish control over Menaka by overrunning Malian forces and intimidating civilians using large-scale complex attacks involving ground forces, guidance drones, and SVBIEDs. ISSP previously overwhelmed Malian forces in a strategically important town in the Gao region in August 2022.[55] Militants then intimidated locals before withdrawing.[56] ISSP established control over the surrounding area and isolated Malian forces in the following months and claimed to carry out a shari’a punishment in the town in August 2023.[57] This campaign is a template for how ISSP will attempt to subjugate Menaka. UN forces withdrew from Menaka at the end of August 2023, which makes the town even more vulnerable.[58]

  • ISSP overran Malian forces in Tessit in August 2022 in a complex attack that involved ground forces, mortars, surveillance drones, and an SVBIED.[59] The attackers also entered the town and executed local officials before withdrawing.[60] ISSP isolated Malian forces that returned to the town by evicting the villages surrounding the town ambushing Malian troops near their base.[61]
  • MINUSMA forces withdrew from Menaka on August 30.[62] UN troops in the town helped reinforce the town, provided air capabilities, conducted joint patrols through the town with Malian forces, and helped manage and provide for internally displaced people fleeing from ISSP.[63]
  • Intimidating and coercing local leaders helps ISSP project control despite not having a large standing force. ISSP typically recruits or coerces many of its fighters from the surrounding areas of a given target, and the attackers return to their villages shortly after an operation.[64]

A large IS-controlled territory in the tri-border region will become a leadership, logistics, and recruitment hub for IS in West Africa and could generate a transnational attack threat. The UN Security Council reported in July that ISSP is using its growing support zones to strengthen its lines of communication with the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the Lake Chad Basin for logistical and recruitment purposes.[65]

The coup and threat of regional war in Niger has distracted security forces and reduced counterterrorism pressure on ISSP affiliates, which has led to an increase in ISSP attacks in Niger and will make it easier for it to interact with ISWAP.[66] Both of these affiliates have shown the capability and intent to threaten US personnel in the region.[67] An IS hub in West Africa will also attract foreign fighters that would increase the group’s strength and the risk of transnational attack plots. The UN Security Council reported in July that IS recruiters and facilitators in the Sahel had established transit corridors between southern Europe and the Sahel and had established an attack cell operating out of Morocco and Spain.[68]

  • Niger’s armed forces overthrew the country’s democratically elected president on July 26.[69] ISSP has since attacked communes in Niger’s Tillaberi region six times in August and September, targeting 17 different villages.[70] The group only averaged three to four attacks across four locations per month in 2023 before the coup.[71]
  • ISWAP was behind a credible security threat to the US embassy in Nigeria in October 2022 and attempted to assassinate the Nigerian president in December.[72] ISSP killed four US soldiers in an ambush in 2017.[73]
  • IS propaganda has increasingly highlighted its provinces in West Africa since 2022 and encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the area. An IS media campaign in June 2022 included videos of militants from the Middle East encouraging the African affiliates, and an edition of the group’s weekly newsletter focused on its West African affiliates and called for migration to Africa.[74] The IS newsletter spotlighted ISSP in its August 24, 2023, edition.[75]

Figure 5. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in Africa

Source: Kathryn Tyson.


Authors: Peter Mills and Kathryn Tyson

Pakistani security forces will likely fail to defeat TTP cross-border attacks into northern Pakistan. Hundreds of TTP militants entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and attacked Pakistani military outposts and checkpoints in Chitral district, northern Pakistan, from September 6 to 11.[76] Pakistan warned the Taliban government that TTP militants were massing near the border in northeastern Afghanistan, but the Taliban did not prevent the TTP from carrying out the attacks.[77] The Taliban government's continued failure to destroy TTP safe havens will enable the TTP to conduct future attacks in Pakistan. Difficult mountainous terrain and a lack of Pakistani military manpower and infrastructure in Chitral will hinder Pakistan’s ability to secure the border with Afghanistan and defend against these attacks.

  • Pakistan was unable to secure Chitral during TTP attacks from September 6 to 11. TTP militants claimed it captured the Bamboret, Kalash, and Ursoon Valleys in western Chitral on September 7.[78] Pakistan deployed reinforcements and helicopter gunships to retake Bamboret and Ursoon from September 8 to 9 and forced some TTP militants to retreat to Afghanistan.[79] The fighting continued until September 11, according to a local analyst.[80] The local Chitral government shared videos showing residents celebrating the TTP’s retreat on September 11.[81]
  • Pakistan has small outposts in Chitral, but major military bases are located far outside the district, signaling Pakistan does not give priority to this area. Pakistani security forces used locals to facilitate logistical support for soldiers in Chitral during the offensive, indicating it lacks manpower.[82] Pakistan has invested in expanding border defenses since 2017, but this has not prevented an escalating TTP campaign inside Pakistan since 2021.[83]
  • The TTP used its freedom of movement in Afghanistan to move forces from its havens in Kunar Province and mass them in Barg-e Matal, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, before attacking Chitral. The leader of TTP commanded the operation from Barg-e Matal.[84] CTP previously assessed that neither Pakistan nor the Taliban has the capability or will to conduct a ground campaign against the TTP in Afghanistan, which would be required to clear and hold TTP support zones.[85]

Figure 6. Major Military Bases in Pakistan Relative to Chitral District, Pakistan

Source: Kathryn Tyson.

The Taliban is unwilling and unable to stop TTP cross-border attacks, which will likely enable to TTP to conduct future attacks into Pakistan. The Taliban’s failure to control the TTP will enable the TTP to continue conducting cross-border raids. Continuing cross-border attacks will degrade Pakistani border defenses, which will improve the TTP’s freedom of movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan and allow it to conduct future attacks in Pakistan. CTP has previously assessed that the Taliban’s internal politics make it unwilling and unable to stop TTP activity in Afghanistan.[86]

Pakistan’s efforts to diplomatically and economically pressure the Taliban government to restrain the TTP have failed. Pakistan said on September 6 that it closed Torkham border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, due to clashes with the Taliban near Torkham and “attacks from Afghanistan on Pakistani soil,” which indicates the closure is a response to the Chitral attack.[87] Torkham is the largest border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is 150 kilometers from Chitral, suggesting this closure is intended to economically pressure the Taliban to restrain the TTP, as opposed to a security measure in response to TTP attacks. This closure is amplifying economic pressure on the Taliban by keeping the border closed during an important agricultural season, causing losses for Afghan farmers.[88]

The Taliban criticized Pakistan’s decision to keep Torkham closed but has not signaled any shift in policy toward harboring TTP militants.[89] The Taliban government’s ability to control TTP safe havens in Kunar and Nuristan is limited because local Taliban networks protect the TTP from Taliban elements that seek to expel the TTP from Afghanistan.[90]

  • The Chitral attacks degraded Pakistani border defenses by capturing and destroying several outposts.[91] The degradation of Pakistani border defenses will enable TTP fighters to establish transit zones in the area and send fighters between Afghanistan and Pakistan.[92] This will enable the TTP to retreat to Afghanistan to escape Pakistani counterterrorism operations, helping it to preserve its forces and avoid suffering heavy casualties due to superior conventional Pakistani military forces.
  • Pakistani officials issued a diplomatic démarche to the Taliban government on September 9 blaming them for allowing the Chitral attack to take place.[93] Local Pakistani officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province stated they had evidence that the Haqqani Network, a branch of the Talian movement, was involved in the Chitral attack.[94]
  • Taliban rhetoric continues to reject responsibility for combating the TTP. The Taliban government continued to deny on September 7 that TTP has safe havens in Afghanistan.[95] Taliban social media rhetoric emphasized that the raid took place inside Pakistan and that the Taliban is not responsible for preventing insecurity in Pakistan.[96] Pakistan repeatedly asked the Taliban government to crack down on TTP safe havens in Afghanistan and prevent TTP attacks into Pakistan throughout 2022 and 2023, but the Taliban government has failed to do so.[97]

Figure 7. Claimed TTP Attacks and Clashes with Pakistani Security Forces in Chitral District

Source: Kathryn Tyson.

Figure 8. The Salafi-Jihadi Movement in Central and South Asia

Source: Kathryn Tyson.





[4] https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%83%d8%b4%d9%81%d9%8f-%d8%b9%d9%86-%d9%85%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8e-%d9%82%d8%af%d9%91%d9%85%d8%aa%d9%92%d9%87%d8%a7-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b4%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84/; https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%b4%d9%8a%d8%ae%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d9%83%d9%8a%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%aa%d9%90-%d9%8a%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8e-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d9%88%d9%84;;




[8] https://orient-news dot net/ar/news_show/205493;; https://twitt...

[9]; https:/...

[10] https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%83%d8%b4%d9%81%d9%8f-%d8%b9%d9%86-%d9%85%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8e-%d9%82%d8%af%d9%91%d9%85%d8%aa%d9%92%d9%87%d8%a7-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d8%b4%d8%a7%d8%a6%d8%b1%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84/; https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%b4%d9%8a%d8%ae%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d9%83%d9%8a%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%aa%d9%90-%d9%8a%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8e-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d9%88%d9%84

[11] https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%b4%d9%8a%d8%ae%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d9%83%d9%8a%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%aa%d9%90-%d9%8a%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8e-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d9%88%d9%84; https://orient-news dot net/ar/news_show/205380

[12] https://almohrarmedia dot net/%d8%b4%d9%8a%d8%ae%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b9%d9%83%d9%8a%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%aa%d9%90-%d9%8a%d8%b7%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a8%d9%8f-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%aa%d8%ad%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81%d9%8e-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%af%d9%88%d9%84


[14] https://orient-news dot net/ar/news_show/205493;; https://twitt...

[15] https://deirezzor24 dot net/en/the-sdf-makes-promises-to-a-delegation-of-deir-ezzor-intellectuals-during-a-meeting-held-yesterday













[28] Author’s database of significant activities (SIGACT). Sources available on request.

[29]; author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.

[30] https://shaam dot org/news/syria-news/wst-tjdd-alashtbakat-bdyralzwr-alhfl-ydaw-lmwaslh-alantfadhh-alashaeryh-dhd-qsd;

[31] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.

[32] https://www.lapresse dot ca/international/afrique/2023-09-08/nord-du-mali/attaque-suicide-contre-un-camp-militaire-au-lendemain-d-une-double-attaque-meurtriere.php;


[34] SITE Intelligence Group, “JNIM Issues Formal Communiques for Suicide Raid Near Gao Airport, Attacks on Burkinabe and Malian Forces and Wagner Mercenaries,” September 8, 2023, available by subscription at



[37] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.

[38] SITE Intelligence Group, “[UPDATE] JNIM Claims Projectile Strike on Timbuktu Airport, Calls Location a ‘Haven’ for PMC Wagner Group and FAMa,” August 30, 2023, available by subscription at; SITE Intelligence Group, “JNIM Claims Mortar Shelling Targeting Timbuktu Airport, Adjacent MINUSMA Camp,” September 12, 2023, available by subscription at;


[40] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.

[41] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.






[47] https://africanperceptions dot org/ar/2023/03/%d8%b9%d8%ab%d9%85%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%82%d9%8a%d8%b1%d9%88%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%8a-%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d8%a4%d9%89-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%a7%d9%81%d8%b1%d9%8a%d9%82%d9%8a%d8%a9-%d8%b3%d9%86; SITE Intelligence Group, “Africa-Focused News Blog Interviews JNIM Official on Group’s Mission and Growing Circle of Operations, Attacks in Benin and Togo,” March 24, 2023, available by subscription at;


[49] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request; SITE Intelligence Group, “Spotlighting ‘Sahel Province’ in an-Naba 405, IS Reports Expansion of Advocacy Efforts and Execution of German Forces’ Office Employee in Mali,” August 25, 2023, available by subscription at;


[51] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.

[52] SITE Intelligence Group, “Spotlighting ‘Sahel Province’ in an-Naba 405, IS Reports Expansion of Advocacy Efforts and Execution of German Forces’ Office Employee in Mali,” August 25, 2023, available by subscription at

[53] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.




[57]; https://malivox dot net/mali-larmee-dement-linformation-faisant-etat-dune-attaque-a-tessit; SITE Intelligence Group, “Spotlighting ‘Sahel Province’ in an-Naba 405, IS Reports Expansion of Advocacy Efforts and Execution of German Forces’ Office Employee in Mali,” August 25, 2023, available by subscription at




[61]; https://malivox dot net/mali-larmee-dement-linformation-faisant-etat-dune-attaque-a-tessit









[70]; https:...

[71] Author’s database of SIGACTs. Sources available on request.



[74] SITE Intelligence Group, “Like Their Brethren in Syria, IS Fighters in Iraq Encourage Counterparts in Africa in Video,” June 27, 2022, available by subscription at; SITE Intelligence Group, “IS Reinforces Africa as ‘Land of Immigration of Jihad’ in Naba 343, Remarks on Parallels to Iraq and Syria,” June 20, 2022, available by subscription at

[75] SITE Intelligence Group, “Spotlighting ‘Sahel Province’ in an-Naba 405, IS Reports Expansion of Advocacy Efforts and Execution of German Forces’ Office Employee in Mali,” August 25, 2023, available by subscription at



[78]; https:...

[79]; https://twit...


[81]; https://twitt...

[82] ; https:...


[84]; https://twitt...



[87]; https://t...

[88]; https://t...





[93] https://www dot dawn dot com/news/1774931;