Small Wars Journal

Fight Against Last Vestige of ISIS in Syria Stalls, to Dismay of U.S.

Fight Against Last Vestige of ISIS in Syria Stalls, to Dismay of U.S. by Eric Schmitt – New York Times

An American-backed military offensive has stalled against the Islamic State’s last vestige in eastern Syria — in part because of the enemy that the allied fighting force had expected, and other threats that it very much had not.

Booby traps, land mines and a militant counterstrike during a fierce sandstorm after the campaign began in September have knocked the coalition back on its heels.

And last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting the Islamic State with American help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey — not far from United States advisers.

American diplomats and generals rushed to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists despite their partnership with the United States.

But the episode underscores the shifting nature of the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, a still-potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond…

Read on.