The Battle of Raqqa ended in October last year, bringing a conclusion to the decisive final push by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Islamic State (ISIL) to seize the latter's de-facto capital. Within the ruined city prisons, a notebook found inside reportedly detailed how the group plans for survival and future insurgencies.
The notebook supposedly contained notes from an ISIS fighter and was written for the most part in English and Arabic by the same person, according to the National. Inside are some disturbing notes as well as what could hold some clues to the ISIS blueprint for staging their insurgencies in Iraq, Syria, and eventually, all over the world.
The National now has the notebook, which also contains entries from another writer, this time written in French. Overall, there are 60 pages of doodles and notes of what could be a first-hand account of what it was like to serve under the ISIS and receive their training, which was not much, all considered, according to the writer of the notes.
In the pages of this written record of working with the Daesh, the author notes how the ISIS training is simply insufficient to prepare combatants.
"Due to the short duration of the camp (20-30 days) and the security precautions of camps it is difficult for trainees to become proficient in the use of multiple weapons," the writer noted, adding that the problems are further complicated by all the different languages in use within the group.
Even this brief training differs from camp to camp, the writer pointed out. "Tactical training at camps is not standardizes which makes it difficult for coherent squads to be assembled with relatively similar tactical backgrounds," one note in particular said.
On the subject of defectors, the writer agreed with a common ISIS tactic, the use of human shields. The author at the time believed that civilians who want to flee the war should instead be pushed towards the center of ISIS influence, in Mosul and Raqqa.
The writer also spent some time musing on how the ISIS should go about influencing the rest of the Muslims around the world, and for that, Mecca and Medina are key.
"But to get there we need to destabilize Al-Saud. Direct action against Al-Saud from Iraq will likely fail militarily and attract US ground troops so the best way to do this is internally, with the support for Yemen and Iraq," the writer outlined.
In the rest of the notes, this notebook also went to show how, even as the ISIS fighters are busy with fending off their opponents, they are also keeping up with international and political news, as Business Insider noted.
Overall, the thoughts expressed in the notebook looks to be not far off from those taught in western military training, according to Dr. Craig Whiteside, Associate Professor at the Naval War College Monterey.
"The author has studied topics we study in a war college, such as the differences between policy and strategy," Whiteside concluded.