Alongside the Pentagon’s war against ISIS in Syria, there’s a whole separate one, run jointly by the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command, which are conducting drone strikes against ISIS as well as fictional al-Qaeda affiliate Khorasan in northern Syria.
The strikes against “Khorasan” really just targeted al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, and seemed to quickly taper off. The campaign against ISIS continues, and officials say it is a “growing intelligence and military success” in Syria, which like most claims of US success in Syria doesn’t make a lot of sense.
With ISIS growing in Syria, it’s tough to see how anything done against them is going all that well, but officials say that the drone war was never meant to defeat ISIS or anyone else in the first place. It’s doing a real good job of not defeating those guys, but officials also say the occasional drone strike keeps people “off-balance” in those areas.
The theory there is that if drones weren’t be launched willy-nilly at ISIS, they’d be more able to carry out major attacks, and thus the attacks are doing what they’re intended to do. Yet ISIS seems to continue to carry out major attacks across Syria on a regular basis, which makes these claimed results, like so many others, illusory.