SYRIA

Preaching jihad with a Hello Kitty notebook

Zahran Allouch is a jihadist fighting against Bashar Al-Assad’s army in Syria. Sounds pretty tough, right? Except that when he gives motivational speeches to his troops, he uses a Hello Kitty notebook.

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Zahran Allouch is a jihadist fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria. Sounds pretty tough, right? Except that when he gives motivational speeches to his troops, he uses a Hello Kitty notebook.

At first glance, it looks like it has to be a photomontage. However, this image is a screen capture from an official video of the Army of Islam, a jihadist group fighting in the Damascus region.

The video was posted online on July 2. In it, Allouch explains that his men will be launching an attack on ISIS, another jihadist group that they are in conflict with.

Whether he has a weakness for Hello Kitty or not, Allouch is a major player in Syria. The Army of Islam, which oversees about 50 smaller jihadist groups, is a well-organised network that experts believe is financed by Saudi Arabia. The Army of Islam has tanks, armoured vehicles, and anti-aircraft weapons.