Home ISIS ISIS Left Reeling After Coalition Drives Group Out of De Facto Capital

ISIS Left Reeling After Coalition Drives Group Out of De Facto Capital

0

By Brian Dowling
Boston Herald

U.S.-backed forces claim they’ve routed Islamic State fighters from Raqqa, declaring victory after months of fighting in the terrorist group’s de facto Syrian capital, eroding its ability to launch attacks and delivering a major symbolic loss to the so-called caliphate, experts say.

“This was the last vestige of the caliphate,” said RAND Corp. terror analyst Colin Clarke.

“Clearly it is the loss of physical territory,” Clarke told the Herald, referring to an ISIS realm that once included vast swaths of both Syria and Iraq. “Even more importantly, it is a symbolic loss. What drew these foreign fighters from around the world is the caliphate. It is what al-Qaeda was unable to do: Here ISIS did it.”

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces yesterday celebrated taking control of the northern Syrian city that ISIS controlled and used as its capital for three years — notoriously staging barbaric executions and holding women as purported sex slaves. A major SDF push in recent days won back the city’s hospital and soccer stadium.

“Liberating Raqqa is a triumph for humanity, especially women,” said Ilham Ahmed, a senior member of SDF’s political wing. “It is a salvation for the will to live an honorable life. It is a defeat to the forces of darkness.”

The Pentagon stopped short of declaring total victory in the ISIS stronghold.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters yesterday ISIS is “on the verge of a devastating defeat.”

Ninety percent of Raqqa has been cleared, but an estimated 100 ISIS fighters remain. Mines, IEDs and other booby traps are strewn across the city, Dillon said. Even so, with the coalition marking its third anniversary of pushing back ISIS’ advance, the group is in retreat.

ISIS has lost 87 percent of its territory in Iraq and Syria, with 6.5 million people liberated from its despotic rule. Oil revenue for the group has been cut by 90 percent. And the coalition has almost entirely staunched the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS, from a high of 1,500 a month.

“Their story of leading a holy cause has proved to be cesspool of brutal lies, torture and oppression,” Dillon said. “ISIS is losing in every way.”

With ISIS retreating from its nerve centers of Mosul in Iraq and now Raqqa in Syria, Clarke said the “terror group as we know it has changed” to be “highly dispersed” and “operating more clandestinely.”

He added: “At the end of the day, they will attempt to regroup somewhere, but it won’t be Iraq or Syria — and not as robust.”

Losing Raqqa means ISIS will no longer have the safe haven to recruit and train fighters and plan attacks, said Boston University professor Michael Corgan.

“They’ll have to adapt to this new circumstance,” Corgan said. “It means they will be less of an existential threat. That’s going to make it harder for ISIS to have a locus. Maybe they’ll go back to Somalia or South Sudan, but that puts them out of reach of the world they are trying to influence.” ___

 

This article is written by Brian Dowling from Boston Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Comments

comments

Roots In The Military. Relevant To All.

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.