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U.S. Official: New ISIS Propaganda Video Shows Group Is "Losing Some Traction"

"As I’m sure you can imagine, we’re not going to get into a back and forth with ISIL every time they release a new piece of propaganda," one U.S. official said.

Posted on September 19, 2014, at 4:26 p.m. ET

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WASHINGTON — ISIS released a 55-minute long propaganda movie on Friday that a U.S. official said is "clearly aimed" at people outside the Middle East.

The English-language video, titled "Flames of War," features high-quality imagery alongside professional-style editing, and is narrated by someone with an American-sounding voice. The highly dramatized video opens up with footage of explosions from the Middle East and quotes from former president George W. Bush.

But a U.S. counterterrorism official says the video is actually a sign of ISIS's decline.

"The video is clearly aimed at English speakers from outside the Middle East since ISIL is losing some traction in the Middle East," a U.S. counterterrorism official told BuzzFeed News in an email. "Arab Muslim countries are unifying against ISIL, the Syrian opposition has been fighting ISIL for over two years, and the Iraqis too are uniting against them."

This week, Congress authorized funding for a program that will train and equip Syrian rebels in the Middle East to help them fight ISIS. Though the U.S. has ramped up airstrikes against the militants, Obama has said American troops that have been sent to the region "do not and will not have a combat mission" there.

When reached for comment, a National Security Council spokesperson said it wouldn't weigh in on the new video.

"As I'm sure you can imagine, we're not going to get into a back and forth with ISIL every time they release a new piece of propaganda," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email.

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