The Syrian government and its allies are fast defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda out of Syria, Deutsche Welle (DW) reports.
However, one wouldn’t know this was the case if they consumed only mainstream media’s one-sided coverage of the Syrian conflict. According to U.S. media, only Donald Trump receives credit for the disintegration of ISIS’ caliphate, and very few outlets actually acknowledge the reality on the ground in Syria as documented by DW.
Further, if readers were to rely solely on corporate media’s coverage of the Syrian conflict, it would be clear the prime narrative is that the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian backers routinely enclose civilians in enclaves while bombing them relentlessly for no apparent reason.
While the bombing of civilians remains a grotesque and inhumane act, the reason this overlooked fact regarding the motives of the Syrian government is worth highlighting is that this is the same activity the U.S. and its allies routinely participate in directly across the globe: bombing civilians while claiming to be targeting ISIS and al-Qaeda in multiple theaters, even when American bombs routinely hit civilian areas in which no militants are present. Whether or not both the U.S. and the Syrian government target civilians specifically or not continues to be disputed considering they are both allegedly prosecuting the same ideological war against terrorist entities.
According to DW, ISIS’s only real substantial territory left can be found directly on the Iraq-Syria border, as well as in some parts of the countryside. ISIS no longer has a central headquarters, and by some estimates, the group may have fewer than 6,500 members left.
DW also notes that al-Qaeda in Syria, also operating under the banner of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (unofficially supported by the United States), only has a few strongholds of its own remaining, including Eastern Ghouta, which is why the Syrian Arab Army and its allies are currently leading a campaign in this area to drive these religious extremists out. As of February, U.N. experts believed al-Sham had between 7,000 to 11,000 local fighters and several thousand foreign recruits.
According to a report published by the London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center, a leading security analysis agency, 43 percent of ISIS’ battles between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017, were fought against the Syrian military and its allies (the majority of ISIS’ battles). On top of this, the Syrian government has also been battling al-Sham and its associated forces, most famously driving them out of Aleppo in 2016, as well as Homs between 2011 and 2014, as noted by DW.
Further, the majority of the Syrian rebels, including those directly supported by the U.S., reportedly share ISIS’ core belief system. Even those that don’t believe in ISIS’ strict interpretation of Islam worked together on the ground with al-Qaeda and its various affiliates, making the distinction between these groups virtually meaningless.