The radical terror group ISIS (also known as ISIL) has conquered half of the country of Syria, albeit mostly more rural areas with limited numbers of residents, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The monitoring group, cited in a report by The Daily Star, also noted along with ISIS pro-media that the terrorist organization had captured two of the three border crossings between Syria and Iraq.
ISIS aims to build a new Islamic empire, or caliphate, and has mostly take regions in Syria and Iraq. The Daily Star noted that while ISIS has taken plenty of territory in Syria, they have only captured one major city from the Syrian regime—Palmyra—which ISIS took on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the United States, leading the coalition fight against Syria, disagreed with the overall assessment of ISIS control of Syria.
“We certainly don’t deny that ISIL holds significant territory in Syria, but we don’t agree with those calculations,” said spokesman Marie Harf in comments released by the US State Department.
Harf noted that ISIS had lost “about 25 percent of the populated area [in Iraq] it controlled at the beginning of this conflict,” noting that setbacks with ISIS are part of the “ebbs and flows” of the fight.
But while she sounded more optimistic about Iraq, Harf noted that defeating ISIS in Syria will be more difficult. Implied in Harf’s comments is that part of the difficulty is that the US does not support the Syrian regime, which is fighting ISIS, but prefers the rebel forces also fighting ISIS.
Said Harf of taking down ISIS in Syria, “That requires a little bit different tools here, but it requires us continuing to support the [Syrian] opposition. It’s a tougher challenge, certainly, but that is also our goal there.”
Harf noted that the US has launched a program to train Syrian opposition forces to fight ISIS in Syria.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastudpate.com, May 21, 2015)