Russian Airstrikes Have Frightened ISIS Into Canceling Friday Prayers

It’s something of a slap in the face of the United States that nothing like this ever happened when we were the primary prosecutor of the war against the Islamic State. Now that Vladimir Putin has pushed us aside to prosecute that war, things have changed.

The Islamic State terror group cancelled Friday prayers in the Syrian city of Raqqa and emptied mosques there out of fear of further Russian airstrikes, according to activists and city residents.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 12 Islamic State militants were killed Thursday in Russia’s first airstrikes carried out in the group’s de facto capital in Syria.

“Last night, Russian strikes on the western edges of Raqqa city, and near the Tabqa military airport, killed 12 IS jihadists,” Abdel Rahman, head of the observatory, told AFP.

He said residents were staying indoors, and IS “has started to implement a plan to turn off electricity in a number of areas of the city when planes are overhead.”

A Russian airstrike on Thursday on also destroyed a mosque in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, which was captured from government forces by an alliance of Islamist insurgents earlier this year, activists said.

On Friday, Moscow said its latest strikes had hit 12 Islamic State targets, mostly in western and northern parts of the country.

There is now discussion to the effect that ISIS is on its last legs and won’t survive much longer. If that’s true, it might be overgenerous to give Putin credit for the jihadist group’s demise, but he’ll certainly take gleeful credit for having ended the Islamic State within days of active involvement. That would be yet another black eye for American foreign policy, though ISIS’ demise is unquestionably a good thing.

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