Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

ISIS Shifts to Defense | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In recent months ISIS fronts in Syria and Iraq have taken a defensive turn, after several strikes drained its ranks already exhausted by fighting on multiple fronts, according to analysts.
The extremist organization suffered a number of field losses in both Iraq and Syria, but despite this ISIS has broadened the scope of its operations beyond the two countries and includes several countries across the world, killing tens of victims.
The Iraqi Analyst Hisham al-Hashimi, who monitors the terrorist group in both Syria and Iraq, told AFP “ In recent months, ISIS’ positions along most of its fighting fronts in Syria and Iraq have turned defensive , it has lost the initiative that it depended on to attack its enemies.”
Al- Hashimi also pointed out that the terrorist group has recently lost a great deal of suicide attackers, who play a major role to their offensive strategy.
Developments in Iraq also show that ISIS is losing control over the city of Baiji, specifically its nearby oil refinery in the Saladin Governorate which fell in October, followed by losses of the city of Sinjar, West of Mosul just last month.
These losses cut strategic Iraqi-Syrian supply routes exploited by the group. GThe routes also facilitated passage into other regions like the Governorate of Diyala and the city of Kirkuk.
In Syria the terrorist group withdrew its militants from vast areas like the rural areas north east Al-Hasakah province, and several towns in other rural areas north of Aleppo.
Syria analyst and geographical expert Fabrice Balanche said “ISIS is being attacked on numerous fronts by various actors: the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeast Syria and Kurdish forces in Iraq backed by American air support have been able to squeeze ISIS in the border area, in addition to the Syrian government troops using the additional boost of Russia’s air power to push back against ISIS in the northern Aleppo province and central Homs.”
“Without being able to shoot down coalition planes, ISIS will organize attacks in the heart of the coalition countries, like France, to try to destabilize us and win the propaganda battle, which is likely to bring it more funding and fighters,” Balanche added.