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War on ISIS in maps

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I often check this website because the map helps me understand what is happening in Syria and Iraq:



This is a brief explanation of the situation right now, for those who are interested:




Black areas are controlled by ISIS. Red areas are controlled by the Russian-supported Syrian and US-supported Iraqi official armies. Yellow is controlled by US supported Kurd troops. And green is controlled by different rebel factions in Syria, some of them supported by US airforce, some not.


The main ISIS strongholds are Raqqa (its capital) and Mosul. The first thing we notice in this map is how much territory ISIS has lost in the last months. Last June Iraqi troops took the city of Fallujah, near Baghdad, which was one of ISIS' main strongholds, so most of Iraq is now free from ISIS, and the conflict has centered around Mosul to the north. The Iraqi army supported by US troops made an important advance during the last week (see the purple arrow) and captured Qayyara airport near Mosul that they are now using as base to begin laying siege to that city.


In Syria the situation is more complicated because all factions fight among them. The Syrian army took retook the city of Palmyra (where there is the icon with the helicopter) and now there are constant clashes near that city. Russian jets are bombing that area, but they are bombing other areas controlled by different rebel groups too. 


By far the most crucial fight right now is taking place in the area I circled in orange. That black corridor between the city of Aleppo and the Kurdish area is the only point of contact for ISIS with Turkey and the rest of the world. While the Turkish government looks the other way, ISIS receives daily new fighters from everywhere in the world as well as suppplies and weapons through the Turkish border. And that is also the route ISIS oil trucks follow to sell their oil abroad, their main (and almost only) source of income. If Kurdish troops succeed to control that area, the war will be lost for ISIS since they will be isolated and left to their own devices without new fighters, supplies nor money. That doesn't mean the war will be easy or will end soon but the die will already be cast.

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Thanks so much for posting this map and the explanation of everything!  As per usual, you explained things in a way that even I could understand!  You should post a new map every month or so, so that we can see who is gaining ground and where.  Thanks again!

Don't live for the moment - live for the future! :D

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Thank you, Lucy and Brigette.


It's interesting that ISIS had much less militar power than the world thought. It gained so much territory because nobody did anything to stop them. No foreign power moved a finger although they all boasted that they were doing their best to combat ISIS' terror. Only when the Western world began suffering terrorist attack after terrorist attack they got their act together and launched an offensive.


Today the news said the US and Russia are discussing how to coordinate their attacks in Syria. If they really did that, ISIS would last very little. But even after ISIS disappears, Syria will continue to be a hornet's nest. Russia supports Al Assad's regime while the US supports rebel groups that fight that regime. On the other hand, a big area of the country is controlled by Al Nusra, a militar group that obeys Al Qaeda and which is not any better than ISIS. And then there's the Kurds, who are gaining a lot of power and territory that obviously they won't be willing to yield after the war is over. Only the kingdom can straighten that mess.

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  • 1 month later...

Suddenly the US has made a strange and unexpected move in the last two days: betraying the Kurds.


At the beginning of the war there were several rebel groups against Russia-supported Assad's official regime. US diplomacy chose to support the FSA (Free Syrian Army) one of the non-radical-Islamist rebel groups that fight against him. But the group lacked a strong leadership and soon broke up in many smaller factions. Some of the American heavy weapons ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda supporters.


So the US chose a new ally to fight ISIS: the secular Kurdish army known as the Peshmerga. The Kurds are a people that lives in Eastern Turkey and Northern Syria, Iraq and Iran. Everybody, especially Turkey, distrusts them since their long-term aim is to declare an independent Kurd state, and no country wants to lose territory. With the help of US airstrikes, heavy weaponry and strategical advice, the Pershmerga are the only army that has quickly defeated ISIS in many fronts and recovered a lot of their territory.


However some of their recent victories made the Turkish government uncomfortable, since they were too close to the Turkish border. Besides, Kurdish groups have launched several terrrorist attaks in Turkey. So the Turkish president has suddenly declared war on ISIS (until now he was letting them cross the border and was buying their oil). The Turkish army is supporting a different rebel group to serve as a buffer and keep the Kurds at a distance. They are also shelling Kurdish positions and asking them to pull back.


And now suddenly American diplomacy has reached an understanding with the Turkish regime and have withdrawn their support from the Kurds. That seems the clumsiest possible move, to lose their only ally in the area and the only ones with real power to confront ISIS. Now that ISIS was in its lowest hour all its enemies begin to fight among themselves. ISIS has already lost the war, but it will still take years to erradicate them.




Edited by carlos
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The US needs Turkey onside more than the Kurds fighting ISIS.  But it seems ridiculous, and as we know “Every kingdom divided against itself comes to ruin, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." - Matt 12:25                                                

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