ISIS Shifts Focus to Syria as They Lose Ground in Iraq

ISIS Shifts Focus to Syria as They Lose Ground in Iraq | Deir Ezzor offensive seen as effort to shore up control in Syria’s east

While reports of ISIS’ outright defeat in Iraq are dramatically overstated, there’s no denying that after over a year of heavy offensives, they’ve lost a lot of territory, and don’t constitute much of a de facto state there any longer. This is believed to be shifting ISIS’ focus to the west, into neighboring Syria.

The assumption is that this focus shift is a major reason why ISIS is so heavily committing to its ongoing offensive in the Deir Ezzor Province, where they’ve seized several districts of the capital city, and are trying to advance toward the key military airport in the area.

The airport on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor has long been seen as a huge strategic goal for ISIS, and has been attacked repeatedly, albeit unsuccessfully. It is the last military airport in eastern Syria which has never fallen to a rebel faction.

ISIS seems to be shifting away from territorial holdings in Iraq, and back toward a transitional insurgency, while in Syria they look to be trying to double down on protecting their territory, which is still substantial, and are likely to try to make pushes like the Deir Ezzor offensive to shore up their control over the eastern half of the country.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Don

    Exactly as planned by the US and the timing is perfect. precisely timed to challenge the Trump regime which has no leadership in Trump, due to his ignorance of strategies in Syria.

    Anyone like to argue that it’s a sign of boldness from the Trump regime?

    luv from Canada.

    • Tom Mauel

      Trump has indicated he would disengage from Syria except to destroy ISIS and that might include ai-Qaeda. Time will tell.

      • Don

        The US will disengage from Syria if it’s now reached an understanding that to remain is hopeless. Trump will have nothing to say about that and won’t even be capable of understanding what it means.

        The US remaining in Syria, or propping up terrorists who fight against Russia and the Assad regime, will likely be seen as worthwhile for the indefinite future.

        This has a lot to do with what I tell Bianca. The US cannot win Syria but it’s true that the US has lost Syria. Likewise Iran.

        Obama did it.

    • Bianca

      I would accept the strategy theory but not that Trump has no clue what to do. He has all the staff he needs to plan, needs more time to coordinate with various players — and time to go up. Wait till time tells all.

      • Don

        In truth you are agreeing with me when you suggest that all the staff is in place. Except for the tops of commands, the same staff that has always been informed and active. But we would have to be in total disagreement if you are suggesting that Trump will be making decisions. He will be told what decisions need to be made and he will be used to parrot those decisions.

        Come on Bianca, you’re smart enough to know that the man doesn’t have a fu–ing clue, and won’t for some time. If ever?