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2000: Zarqawi emerges

In the early 2000s, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi set up extremist group Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad).

His group opposed Western involvement in the region and supported Sharia law.

2003-04: Iraq invasion

In 2003, the US and its allies invaded Iraq, toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein

The former president was discovered hiding in a hole and was captured and later hanged.

Al-Zarqawi formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) opposing Western forces. Its brutality alienated it from many Iraqis and al-Qaeda leaders.

2006-07: Zarqawi killed

Al-Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in 2006. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) joined other militant groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

The network was weakened in 2007 following the US troop "surge" and the payment of Sunni tribes to form militias to expel AQI.

2011-13: Syria uprising

The anti-government uprising in neighbouring Syria turned violent and led to civil war.

ISI - now led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - supported Syria's opposition by setting up the militant Nusra Front and sending cash and fighters.

The group's brutal tactics were condemned by rebels. Al-Qaeda also disowned it. ISI rebranded itself Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

In Iraq, meanwhile, US troops withdrew. Violence perpetrated by Isis rose.

2014: Isis advances

In 2014, Isis made crucial gains in western Iraq and advanced north and east. The BBC’s Paul Wood was caught in a gunbattle between Kurdish troops and Isis fighters.

Isis's conquest of second city Mosul in June sent shockwaves around the world.

Isis went on to declare a caliphate, or Islamic state, across Iraq and Syria and rebranded itself the Islamic State.

In August, the US began air strikes against the jihadists, whose advances have forced more than a million Iraqis - including minority communities - to flee the violence.

INTERACTIVE VIDEO

A new media experience - watch, read and interact

2000

Zarqawi Emerges

2003-2004

Iraq invasion

2006-2007

Zarqawi killed

2011-2013

Syria uprising

2014

Isis advances

IS claims to have 10,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria

The group is said to have access to $2,000,000,000 in funding

Some mobile devices are not able to play interactive video - crucial to this feature. Therefore, it is best viewed on desktop or tablet.

2000: Zarqawi emerges

In the early 2000s, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi set up extremist group Tawhid wa al-Jihad (Unity and Jihad).

His group opposed Western involvement in the region and supported Sharia law.

2003-04: Iraq invasion

In 2003, the US and its allies invaded Iraq, toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein

The former president was discovered hiding in a hole and was captured and later hanged.

Al-Zarqawi formed al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) opposing Western forces. Its brutality alienated it from many Iraqis and al-Qaeda leaders.

2006-07: Zarqawi killed

Al-Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike in 2006. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) joined other militant groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

The network was weakened in 2007 following the US troop "surge" and the payment of Sunni tribes to form militias to expel AQI.

2011-13: Syria uprising

The anti-government uprising in neighbouring Syria turned violent and led to civil war.

ISI - now led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - supported Syria's opposition by setting up the militant Nusra Front and sending cash and fighters.

The group's brutal tactics were condemned by rebels. Al-Qaeda also disowned it. ISI rebranded itself Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

In Iraq, meanwhile, US troops withdrew. Violence perpetrated by Isis rose.

2014: Isis advances

In 2014, Isis made crucial gains in western Iraq and advanced north and east. The BBC’s Paul Wood was caught in a gunbattle between Kurdish troops and Isis fighters.

Isis's conquest of second city Mosul in June sent shockwaves around the world.

Isis went on to declare a caliphate, or Islamic state, across Iraq and Syria and rebranded itself the Islamic State.

In August, the US began air strikes against the jihadists, whose advances have forced more than a million Iraqis - including minority communities - to flee the violence.

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Civilian deaths in Iraq 2003-2014

12095
2003
11650
04
16382
05
29380
06
25901
07
10136
08
5153
09
4110
10
4149
11
4587
12
9241
13
6844
14
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
January03
3
February03
2
March03
3,977
April03
3,435
May03
546
June03
597
July03
647
August03
794
September03
565
October03
517
November03
486
December03
526
January04
610
February04
663
March04
1,004
April04
1,303
May04
654
June04
901
July04
825
August04
877
September04
1,033
October04
1,016
November04
1,652
December04
1,112
January05
1,188
February05
1,284
March05
902
April05
1,144
May05
1,392
June05
1,346
July05
1,530
August05
2,276
September05
1,422
October05
1,298
November05
1,467
December05
1,133
January06
1,544
February06
1,570
March06
1,946
April06
1,801
May06
2,273
June06
2,571
July06
3,297
August06
2,865
September06
2,562
October06
2,983
November06
3,077
December06
2,891
January07
3,014
February07
2,673
March07
2,717
April07
2,540
May07
2,834
June07
2,194
July07
2,690
August07
2,481
September07
1,366
October07
1,295
November07
1,110
December07
987
January08
847
February08
1,072
March08
1,643
April08
1,299
May08
890
June08
747
July08
643
August08
682
September08
606
October08
590
November08
535
December08
582
January09
372
February09
403
March09
426
April09
567
May09
390
June09
501
July09
407
August09
618
September09
333
October09
435
November09
226
December09
475
January10
263
February10
304
March10
336
April10
385
May10
387
June10
385
July10
443
August10
516
September10
254
October10
312
November10
307
December10
218
January11
389
February11
254
March11
311
April11
289
May11
381
June11
386
July11
308
August11
401
September11
397
October11
366
November11
279
December11
388
January12
524
February12
356
March12
377
April12
392
May12
304
June12
529
July12
469
August12
422
September12
396
October12
290
November12
253
December12
275
January13
357
February13
360
March13
403
April13
545
May13
888
June13
659
July13
1,145
August13
1,012
September13
1,221
October13
1,095
November13
903
December13
983
January14
1,076
February14
930
March14
1,009
April14
1,013
May14
1,027
June14
1,789
Source: Iraq Body Count

Al-Qaeda's fading power in Iraq

2006

2008

Areas of conflict and displacement
Areas with refugee presence
Source: US Dept of Defense, Institute for the Study of War

Regional impact of the Syria conflict

Areas of conflict and displacement
Areas with refugee presence
Source: Humanitarian Info Unit, US Dept of State

Isis-claimed attacks in Iraq

2012

2013

2012
2013

2012 761

2013 1077

Source: Isis annual report, Institute for the Study of War

Isis presence in Iraq and Syria

Assessed operational presence
Areas Isis claims to have presence or control
Source: Institute for the Study of War, Long War Journal

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