March 10, 2015
Pham: "It's a Propaganda Victory"
"It's something that has been developing over the course of at least nine months," said Peter Pham, director of the Africa programme at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.
"Both groups need this right now. They need a propaganda coup to raise morale and attention because they are both suffering setbacks in their military campaigns."
After a whirlwind seizure of territory across Iraq and Syria last year, ISIS expansion in its core territories has been stalled by local forces backed by the United States and Iran.
"For ISIS, it's an opportunity to present themselves as ever-expanding, to enhance their aura of inevitability. It's a propaganda victory. And for that, all you need is a small camera and an Internet connection," said Pham.
Continual territorial growth is a key part of the ISIS narrative, under its slogan "remaining and expanding".