Ayman al-Zawahri

Timeline of the rise and fall of the Islamic State group

The Islamic State group erupted from the chaos of Syria and Iraq's conflicts and swiftly did what no Islamic militant group had done before, conquering a giant stretch of territory and declaring itself a "caliphate."

Its territorial rule, which at its height in 2014 stretched across nearly a third of both Syria and Iraq, ended with a last stand by several hundred of its militants at a tiny Syrian village on the banks of the Euphrates near the border with Syria.

Here are the key moments in the rise and fall of the Islamic State group:

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April 2013 — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaida's branch in Iraq, announces the merger of his group...

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