By ISW Research Team
Key Takeaway: ISW’s updated ISIS sanctuary map includes a new attack zone in Deraa, southwestern Syria and an expanded sanctuary zone in Idlib, northwestern Syria. ISIS claimed an attack against the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) in Deraa on August 18, and also may be responsible for an ongoing assassination campaign against JN in Idlib. ISIS likely intends to target JN and Syrian opposition’s governance structures in preparation for future offensives in western Syria. ISIS’s increased attacks against JN also reflect an expansion of the rivalry between ISIS and JN for leadership of the global jihadist movement.