VIDEO: ISIL threatens to 'liberate' Istanbul
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who now refer to themselves as the Islamic State (IS), has threatened to "liberate" Istanbul, while accusing Turkey of cutting off the flow of the Euphrates River, drying up northern Syria, including Raqqa, "the capital of the Islamic State."
"I pray to God that the apostate [Turkish] government reconsiders its decisions because if they don't reconsider it now, we'll reconsider it for them by liberating Istanbul," ISIL's "press officer" Abu Mosa told Vice News in Raqqa.
When reporter Medyan Dairieh asked if this is a threat, Abu Mosa answered: "Yes, it is a clear threat. If they don't open [the Atatürk dam in Turkey that diverts the water], we'll unblock it from Istanbul."
Dairieh had become the first journalist to document the inner workings of ISIL. He spent three weeks embedded with ISIL, “gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria,” according to Vice News.
The news website released the first part of his footage Aug. 7 in which Dairieh heads to the frontline in Raqqa, where IS fighters are laying siege on one of the Syrian Army’s bases.
Here is the second part in which Dairieh meets an ISIL member from Belgium who works to indoctrinate some of the youngest members of the group:
Fair use of Euphrates waters has been a problem between Turkey, Syria and Iraq since the 1970s.
On May 13, the Syrian government had accused jihadist groups of cutting off water supplies in Aleppo. Two weeks after this statement, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar had claimed that the Turkish government cut the flow of the Euphrates, an allegation that Ankara rejects.
ISIL is holding 49 Turkish citizens, including Öztürk Yılmaz, Turkey’s consul general in Mosul, as captives since June 13 when they raided and seized the consular building in northern Iraq.
The group describes the Syrian city Raqqa as their "capital."