Where Is ISIS? Syria and Iraq Leave No Escape for Islamic State, as Troops Take Final Major Cities


The long-anticipated downward spiral of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has accelerated in current weeks, and the lack of two extra main factors in Iraq and Syria on Friday has all however sealed the jihadis’ destiny, leaving them trapped between the 2 nations over which they as soon as held vital energy.

The Syrian army introduced Friday that its troops had fully retaken what was ISIS’s last main inhabitants heart, the japanese metropolis of Deir Ezzor. Syrian troops, backed by Russia, Iran and varied pro-government militias, managed to interrupt a three-year siege on town in September after launching a cross-country offensive to retake swaths of central and japanese Syria underneath jihadi management. After Deir Ezzor, the final recognized command put up for ISIS’s management, and the close by metropolis of Mayadeen had been retaken, ISIS is trapped within the border city of Al-Bukamal between advancing Syrian and Iraqi forces.

Related: How the U.S. misplaced the warfare in Syria to Russia and Iran

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“The liberation of the city of Deir Ezzor constitutes the final stage in the ultimate elimination of the terrorist ISIS organization in Syria, especially as it acted as the main headquarters of the organization’s leadership,” the Syrian Ministry of Defense mentioned in a press release.

“With its loss, [ISIS] has completely lost its ability to lead the terrorist operations of its groups that have become isolated and encircled in the eastern countryside of the city,” it added. 

GettyImages-869643842 A soldier from the Syrian authorities forces flashes the ‘V’ for victory signal within the japanese Syrian metropolis of Deir Ezzor throughout an operation in opposition to ISIS, on November 2. Syria’s military and allied forces have taken totally secured Deir Ezzor metropolis and are advancing towards Al-Bukamal close to the Iraqi border. STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Syria’s armed forces and different fighters battling in help of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should not alone in serving to dislodge ISIS from the embattled nation. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a largely Kurdish alliance of Arabs and ethnic minorities, defeated ISIS in its de facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria, final month and have made positive factors in Deir Ezzor, as effectively.

The U.S. has criticized Russia’s help for Assad, however the Pentagon’s Kurdish allies have reportedly entered talks with the Syrian authorities to swap Kurd-controlled oil fields in Deir Ezzor for larger political autonomy within the north and a safe spot within the proposed multiconfessional congress of Syrian opposition events, in response to Reuters. The Syrian authorities and the Syrian Kurds’ political management each oppose rebels and jihadis making an attempt to oust Assad, however nonetheless differ on the political panorama of a post-war Syria.

As Syrian troops claimed their newest victory in Deir Ezzor, one other high-stakes battle raged throughout the border. The Iraqi army and Iran-backed, largely Shiite Muslim Popular Mobilization Forces, often known as Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, quickly broke by way of ISIS protection traces, pushing the militants to the Syrian border and finally retaking the Qaim crossing on Friday.

GettyImages-869662828 Iraqi forces and members of the Iran-backed, largely Shiite Muslim Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) advance towards town of Qaim, in Iraq’s western Anbar province, close to the Syrian border, as they struggle remnant pockets of Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters, on November three. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

Iraq forces reportedly despatched negotiators to the Obeidi space of Qaim to tell ISIS fighters that “they must lay down and abandon their arms, respect the rights of the citizens they have taken prisoner and that their only option was to either die or surrender at the hands of our heroic forces,” in response to a press release by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

Iraq’s win in Qaim is the most recent and probably the most vital since ISIS misplaced the northern metropolis of Mosul, by far the most important to return underneath the group’s management. After what the U.S. army described as probably the most intense city badault since World War II, ISIS misplaced town in July to an alliance of Iraqi army, Popular Mobilization Forces, Kurdish militias and a U.S.-led coalition. This coalition, nonetheless, has largely collapsed as Iraq, Iran and the U.S. opposed a controversial Kurdish referendum for independence that has since compelled longtime Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to resign.

Qaim, thought of probably the most necessary factors alongside the 372-mile border between the 2 war-torn nations, lies lower than two-dozen miles from the ISIS-held city of Al-Bukamal in Syria. Syrian troops had been at the same distance, round 18 miles, from Al-Bukamal and have begun their drive towards the ultimate ISIS-controlled city, in response to U.S. coalition sources cited by Agence France-Presse.

RTS1IBFM A map exhibits traces of management in Syria as of November three. Deir Ezzor, the final ISIS stronghold in Syria, has been captured by the Syrian army, leaving fighters trapped within the japanese Euphrates river valley, the place Iraqi forces have begun to safe their aspect of the border. Institute for the Study of War/Reuters

Russia badisted its Syrian allies by bombarding ISIS targets close to Al-Bukamal with submarine-launched supersonic Kalibr cruise missiles and airstrikes by varied warplanes, the Russia’s Ministry of Defense mentioned. The U.S.-led coalition on Thursday additionally carried out airstrikes on ISIS positions close to Al-Bukamal, Deir Ezzor and in ISIS-held territory in Iraq.

Now relegated to collapsing pockets of territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS managed about half of the 2 nations at its top in 2014. The group developed out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq after the U.S. overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 2003, and it developed throughout the subsequent occupation. It took benefit of unrest that started in neighboring Syria in 2011 to unfold, and its badociates proceed to carry territory in North Africa, Afghanistan and the Philippines, as effectively.

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