The Islamic State group, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis), is currently on the back foot in Iraq and Syria, where it is either losing its biggest strongholds or battling with all its might to hold on to them.
The group is also heavily plagued by infighting and attacks from locals. In a recent development, the group, quite uncharacteristically, banned the burka because a woman wearing one of those traditional face-veils attacked and killed two of its members in Iraq. Though the ban is applicable only in areas where there are Isis security posts, the move is complete U-turn for the group from its earlier stance, as part of which it had even executed women who had not worn the veil.
As Isis, also called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), sees successive defeats, it has also witnessed rebellion and desertion from within, and has resorted to punishing such people with execution. A few weeks ago, it had used flamethrowers to burn to death six of its own members for trying to flee from Iraq to Syria. The group is now leaving mass graves -- both of its own members as well as civilians it has killed -- in its wake.
Isis is also turning increasingly to messaging app Telegram after Twitter cracked down on accounts belonging to the group that had been created on its platform. The group uses such digital channels to not only spread its propaganda but also recruit impressionable youngsters.
The Western world has also taken notice of this phenomenon, with France and Germany calling for greater monitoring of the app and messages sent through it. Both countries are wary of this new threat, because they have been recently subjected to terror attacks.
Meanwhile, as Isis retreats, it is leaving behind gruesome reminders of its rule, and what it stood for. See them here: