After nearly 3,000 coalition airstrikes, the days of freely moving around in large formations, flying black flags and taking territory may be over for the group.

[Source: CNN.Com]

What's the meaning of 'flying black flags' in the sentence above?

I searched its meaning in the dictionary (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fly)

but I couldn't find the answer.

  • 2
    You didn't find it in the dictionary because it's not an idiom. It's meant to be interpreted literally, and simply means "flying [the group's] black flags."
    – user152004
    Jan 12, 2016 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


The phrase "flying black flags" refers to the black flags flown by jihadists. It's saying that after such a military campaign, those militants who had free reign to move around before are no longer able to move around freely, particularly not in groups or under their raised black banners.

Many are familiar with what some call “the black flags of jihad” flown by Islamic extremists from Jabhat al-Nusra to Al Qaeda. The flags vary in appearance, but most share a similar theme: they typically have white writing on a black flag, and depict the shehada, or profession of faith that there is no god but god, and Muhammad is his messenger.


ISIS Militants Are Now Flying Their Black Flags Over Iraq’s Largest Oil Refinery.

[RYOT Headline]

  • I've no idea why some anonymous person down-voted you on this. Anyway +1 for a good answer.
    – WS2
    Jan 12, 2016 at 9:02
  • 1
    Hi, Benjamin, I edited your post to copy and paste essential parts of the links. Please take a look.
    – user140086
    Jan 12, 2016 at 9:22

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