ISIS Warns of 'a Fire That Burns the Cross and Its People' as Raqqa Control Crumbles

The Islamic State downplayed the loss of Mosul and warned of "a fire that burns the Cross and its people" if the "atheist" Syrian Democratic Forces continue to win in Raqqa.

The SDF, which consists of Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Yazidis and other ethnic minorities, both men and women fighters and commanders, controls about 55 percent of Raqqa this week. The overall operation that cleared hundreds of square miles in the drive toward the Syrian city began in November.

In the new issue of Rumiyah, ISIS' online magazine printed in English and several other languages, the terror group focuses on these battles, claiming "our brothers in Mosul displayed steadfastness, perseverance, and conviction in the face of disbelief and its various forms, something not witnessed by history until today." It's been nearly a month since ISIS lost the city to Iraqi security forces.

"These people do not understand. They cannot grasp that every soldier of the Khilafah is upon the same ‘aqidah [faith] and methodology, all seeking to be killed in Allah’s cause. Yes, the soldiers of the Islamic State – without exception – are all prepared to fight in the cause of Allah down to their last drop of blood," states the foreword of the magazine. "And so we give glad tidings to the kuffar [disbelievers] that the soldiers of the Khilafah will conquer the land of Sham in its entirety, even if after some time, and will eventually reach their lands, with Allah’s permission."

ISIS also features a “A Mujahid’s Memories from the Battle of Mosul,” and claimed the SDF will "be filled with regret" for the Wrath of Euphrates operation, as the Raqqa offensive is dubbed.

"There are no borders when establishing the Islamic State... the determination to reside under Allah’s shari’ah and raise His word is not something restricted to any particular time or place," the terror group adds, noting their presence in "the Arabian Peninsula, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkistan, and even Malaysia, and the banner of the Islamic State will flutter fly in every part of the world."

In a Q&A with ISIS' commander in Raqqa, the Syrian city the group had claimed as their capital, ISIS still emphasizes the strategic importance of the city's location and stresses that "Raqqa was the base from which the Islamic State expanded, and the center for the Khilafah’s operations on the various fronts."

"As for the mujahidin, their morale is high, they have a desire to fight, by Allah’s grace, and they are aiming for one of only two goals: Either they attain shahadah [martyrdom] and meet the Lord of the creation, or they attain victory, conquest, and consolidation, inshaallah," the unidentified commander said. "The main goal of the Crusader campaign is to wipe out Islam and the Muslims, and to turn the people back from their religion."

The offensive, he added, is "deluding the East and the West into believing that the Crusader and atheist capture of Raqqa would deal a fatal blow to the mujahidin and would be a factor that would wipe out the Khilafah. However, they will fail miserably, inshaallah, for the Khilafah will remain – with Allah’s permission – until the establishment of the Hour."

He explained the ISIS strategy of using booby-traps -- many are still being discovered or defused in Mosul, the coalition recently said -- IEDs and small-arms fire against the advancing SDF. More than 80 percent of the ISIS attacks on the SDF have been committed with improvised explosive devices, a coalition spokesman said last week.

The ISIS commander also said they divided up the remaining part of the city under their control into boroughs where the ISIS within have authority to function and fight independently. He said the Raqqa terrorists have been inspired by the loss in Mosul in which their "brothers... massacred and humiliated the kuffar and murtaddin [apostates]."

"And indeed, we give glad tidings to Muslims everywhere that the Battle of Raqqa will not be a picnic for the murtaddin and their supporters," he added. "Rather, it will be a fire that burns the Cross and its people, gives honor to the Islamic State, and raises its banner, and will be a harsh lesson for the enemies of Allah, with Allah’s permission."

He vowed to "disbelievers" that "we will certainly reach their homelands just as we had done so previously."

Taking a dig at the "army of the effeminate," the ISIS commander warned that "you have seen that we are not heedless of any kafir, and that we do not forget any murtadd even after a long period of time."

"And if you believe that the final outcome will be for the kuffar and murtaddin from among the armies of the tawaghit [rebels to Islam], then you will truly be disappointed, for Allah has guaranteed us victory and has promised you defeat."

The Rumiyah issue does not feature terror tactics for lone jihadists like in some past months. It does feature a column from late al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claiming postwar Iraq "has become a hotbed for missionary activities" from American Christian organizations.