With Mideast in Crisis, Militant Force Gains Strength

Its members are better paid, better trained and better armed even than the national armies of Syria and Iraq, Sheikh Hassan said.

.. One of the first militia leaders to resist the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Towfik from the Nouredin Zinky Brigade, said that its sophisticated tactics made its fighters hard to dislodge. Since last year, the militant group has fought with tanks captured from the Iraqi military.

.. “Wherever we took territory, we would declare people apostates and confiscate their property,” Mustafa said. “We took cars and money from Christians, and from Muslims we didn’t like.”