Capturing the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur in Arabic) and valuable nearby gas fields was just part of the gains of ISIS across Syria, which have now reached the point that the “caliphate” includes more than half of Syria’s territory.
Indeed, ISIS seems to be making gains across both Syria and Iraq, taking the major Iraqi city of Ramadi yesterday, and then seizing the al-Waleed border crossing, the last crossing between Iraq and Syria that they didn’t already hold.
This means that effectively Syria doesn’t have a common border with Iraq anymore, and with similar losses to al-Qaeda further south, doesn’t have much of a border left with Jordan either.
Though the Assad government has repeatedly downplayed the recent gains of ISIS and al-Qaeda as relatively inconsequential, the fact that they’ve lost well over half of the country now underscores just how poorly the war is going for the government, which is watching its territory rapidly shrink into the area around Damascus and the Lebanese border.
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