Ahlam al-Nasr

The New Yorker has described the highly creative ISIS propagandist Ahlam al-Nasr as “the Poetess of the Islamic State.” Through prose and poetry, she utilizes a variety of online social media platforms, especially Twitter, to espouse ISIS propaganda aimed primarily at recruiting fellow females, or “sisters.”Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, “Battle Lines: Want to understand the jihadis? Read their poety,” New Yorker, June 8, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-haykel. Her themes are “[r]adicalization, recruitment, and the glorification of violence.”Natasha Bertrand, “’The Poetess of the Islamic State’ embodies everything dangerous about ISIS,” Business Insider, June 22, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-poetess-of-the-islamic-state-embodies-everything-dangerous-about-isis-2015-6. She is believed to operate out of Raqqa, Syria.

Highlighting her literary credentials, al-Nasr’s mother has written that her daughter was “born with a dictionary in her mouth,” according to the New Yorker.”Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, “Battle Lines: Want to understand the jihadis? Read their poety,” New Yorker, June 8, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-haykel. On October 11, 2014, al-Nasr reportedly married an Austrian-born jihadist, also an ISIS propagandist, in Raqqa Syria, forming a “jihadi power couple.”Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, “Battle Lines: Want to understand the jihadis? Read their poety,” New Yorker, June 8, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-haykel. Syrian-born al-Nasr has been living in Raqqa since the fall of 2014, having previously fled to Kuwait.Natasha Bertrand, “’The Poetess of the Islamic State’ embodies everything dangerous about ISIS,” Business Insider, June 22, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-poetess-of-the-islamic-state-embodies-everything-dangerous-about-isis-2015-6. The New Yorker speculates that Bashar al-Assad regime’s brutal suppression of anti-government demonstrators may have spawned her radicalization.Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, “Battle Lines: Want to understand the jihadis? Read their poety,” New Yorker, June 8, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-haykel.

Al-Nasr has penned poems supporting the self-appointed ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. She has defended the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh and has described the self-proclaimed Islamic State in utopian terms.Nina Easton, “How ISIS is recruiting women – and turning them into brutal enforcers,” Fortune.com, May 5, 2015, http://fortune.com/2015/05/05/isis-women-recruiting/. A collection of her poetry entitled “The Blaze of Truth” was published in summer 2014 in an unnamed publication. It comprised “elegies to mujahideen, laments for prisoners, victory odes, and short poems that were originally tweets,” according to the New Yorker.Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, “Battle Lines: Want to understand the jihadis? Read their poety,” New Yorker, June 8, 2015, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-haykel. Her poems are sung acapella – in accordance with Islamic precepts – on YouTube videos.“Islamic State’s Got Talent: Pop stars of the Caliphate,” June 4, 2015, News.com, http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/islamic-states-got-talent-pop-stars-of-the-caliphate/story-e6frfn09-1227382276436.

 
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On April 10, 2020, ISIS launched an attack in Homs, central Syria, killing at least 27 pro-government fighters. ISIS also took control of some neighborhoods in Al-Sukhna. 

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