28 Fighters Killed as ISIS, Govt Forces Clash in North Syria’s Raqqa

ISIS attacks checkpoints, but faces heavy airstrikes

Heavy fighting over the past few days in Syria’s Raqqa Province has left at least 28 combatants killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 15 ISIS fighters were killed, along with 13 members of Syrian government forces.

This is the latest attempt by ISIS to reestabilish itself in Syria, and seems to be going no better than the others. The ISIS fighters pushed into some checkpoints and caused some casualties, but Syrian and Russian warplanes responded with heavy airstrikes on their camps.

Most ISIS forces left in Syria, which is believed to be a substantial number of them, are based out of the desert. They mostly don’t have control of even small towns, and if they end up doing anything, it’s trying to ambush patrols that happen past.

After a long time as increasingly irrelevant desert brigands, ISIS seems to be hoping they can reorganize enough to take a bit of territory here and there and become a real faction again. So far, they don’t seem to be able to, and just spark brief exchanges of fire.

With other rebel factions also in decline, it’s getting harder and harder for ISIS to find the sort of poorly defended territory to expand into that allowed them to get so large the first time. Now, they are simply struggling for relevance.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.