This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Down But Not Out

"The Syrian Democratic Forces cut off the last road from Manbij to the Turkish border."
"For the jihadists to reach the Turkish border from Raqqa, they now have to take a route that is more dangerous because of regime troops nearby and Russian air strikes." 
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head, Rami Abdel Rahman

"ISIL has managed to drive out regime troops from the administrative borders of Raqqa province after a fierce counter-offensive."
"More than 40 members of the pro-regime forces were killed."
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Two days separated those statements issued from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A lot happened in those two days. The Syrian military, its Russian airpower and Shiite militias exulted that they had Islamic State on the run finally, and were crowding it out of its stronghold, its capital in Raqqa, leaving the 'caliphate' without its primary exclusion zone. But the Islamic State prepared itself by bringing in additional backup and managed a rout of the Syrian military.
ISIL lost about 14 percent of the territory it held in 2015 [Al Jazeera]
And in Iraq, Lt Gen Abdelwahab Al Saadi boasted that his forces had consolidated positions in the south of central Fallujah, one of the last two major urban centres still held by ISIL in Iraq. "Daesh wanted the battle to take place outside the city but we have moved in, and retaken all this area in eight days," he said, standing on rooftop on the edge of the Shuhada neighbourhood. "We’ll be there, in the very centre, in days. Days, not weeks." A shrinkage of time may prove otherwise.

No sooner did the Syrian government crow that it had taken back its oilfield, the situation turned completely around and it was once again divested of that victory, as well. This, despite a well-armed military backed up by the might of Russian warplanes bombing strategically, yet still incapable of dislodging the jihadi menace.

And just as ISIL couldn't care less about the fate of the people in Raqqa, nor too does the Syrian regime hesitate the least bit shrug at their fate; why should it care that more Syrians are sacrificed to its civil war when it already has over a third of a million deaths to its credit?

The Aamaq news agency, linked to Islamic State, posted a video showing the armed group in control of Thawra oilfield, even as warplanes conducted air strikes nearby. Government forces crowed with the exhilaration of victory when it seized the field on Sunday, little imagining it would lose it mere hours afterward.

Even though ISIL has been under pressure in Iraq, Syria and Libya its recovery in Raqqa represents a determination to still take on Syrian troops backed by Russian warplanes.
A volunteer fighter with pro-regime forces sits atop a tank in Raqqa province as part of a two-pronged attack earlier this year
A volunteer fighter with pro-regime forces sits atop a tank in Raqqa province as part of a two-pronged attack earlier this year -- Credit: Alexander Kots/AP

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