What's the Difference Between ISIL and ISIS?

By: Jeremy Downing
By: Jeremy Downing

MIDDLE EAST - There’s been some confusion lately regarding the use of ISIS or ISIL when talking about the Islamic terror group that’s currently gaining media attention.

Most media outlets and the Associated Press are using ISIS while the U.S. State Department is using the ISIL designation for the jihadist group.

So here’s how it breaks down; ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The al-Qaeda linked group is responsible for thousands of deaths in the Syrian civil war and in Iraq. Their aim is to build a new country consisting of Syria, Iraq and a few other Middle Eastern countries, for the Sunni Muslims.

ISIL is now being used by the U.S State Department as well as the United Nations, since the group wants to extend that influence even further. That reach is called (in Arabic), "al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham", the English equivalent of which is the Levant. Therefore they are the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.


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