Small Wars Journal

After Defeat in Iraq, IS Fights on in Last Enclave in Syria

After Defeat in Iraq, IS Fights on in Last Enclave in Syria by Bassem Mroue and Qassim Abdul-Zahra – Reuters

A year after it was routed from Iraq in a devastating war that left entire neighborhoods and towns in ruins, the Islamic State group is fighting to hang on to its last enclave in eastern Syria, engaging in deadly battles with U.S.-backed forces.

Cornered in the desert near the Iraqi border with nowhere to run, the militants are putting up a fierce fight, inflicting hundreds of casualties among their opponents and releasing a stream of beheading videos reminiscent of the extremist group’s terrifying propaganda at the height of its power.

In Syria, the battle for the area of Hajin has dragged on for three months, highlighting the difficulty of eradicating an extremist group determined to survive. Across the border, in Iraq, there is rising concern that the group may stage a comeback. IS sleeper cells have recently launched deadly attacks against security forces and abducted and killed civilians, mostly in four northern and central provinces that were once part of the group’s self-declared caliphate…

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