Here's what I read at The Atlantic:

"With thousands of armed men now at his disposal, Baghdadi opened a second front against the Shiites—in Syria, where there was a largely secular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. What mattered to Baghdadi and his propagandists was that Assad and many of his senior military commanders were Alawites, members of a Shiite sub-sect. Battle-hardened from Iraq, ISI was a much more potent fighting force than most of the secular groups, and fought Assad’s forces to a standstill in many areas. Soon, Baghdadi renamed his group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reflecting his greater ambitions."

So...a militant sub-sect of Sunni Islam (Wahabbists) are attacking a militant sub-sect of Shiite Islam (Alawites). Chaldeans and other minorities (like Yezidi) are caught in the crossfire, though they would always have been targeted by ISIS, whose goal is to purge the region of anything that is not its specific brand of Sunni Islam.

Their black flags remind me of the fear and dread that accompanied the swastika.

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