ISIL Controls More Resources, Territory than Any Extremist Organization in History

Militants from the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate the group's declaration of an Islamic state, in Fallujah

On Monday, June 30, 2014, ISIS militants celebrate the group's declaration of an Islamic state, in Fallujah / AP

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) now controls an unprecedented amount of resources and territory, the Washington Post reports.

ISIL continues to take over more territory in Iraq and Syria. The group took over Sinjar, Iraq on Sunday.

The armed movement, which has surged in wealth, manpower and resources in recent weeks, also just took the town of Wana on Sunday, according to the Washingon Post‘s Loveday Morris. The Islamic State routed a once-proud Kurdish army and forced an exodus of Kurds the United Nations said numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Calling the situation a "humanitarian tragedy," a top U.N. envoy to Iraq said in a statement that their expulsion was "dire." […]

Equally worrisome is what the Islamic State, led by the enigmatic and mysterious Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will do with the Mosul Dam, which it may soon seize — if it hasn’t already. There were conflicting reports on Sunday as to who controlled Iraq’s largest dam. "The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State have taken control of Mosul Dam after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces without a fight," Reuters quoted Iraqi state television as saying, though one Kurdish official disputed that account. […]

It’s just the latest step in the Islamic State’s regional expansion. What was recently a ragtag cadre of former al Qaeda operatives has now morphed into a transnational, fully militarized and very rich operation said to control more than one-third of Syria’s territory. It makes al Qaeda look like a bunch of wannabe jihadists.

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