Daesh Forces Dwindling By the Day in Syria, Iraq

Randolph Lopez
December 28, 2017

Meanwhile, the Syrian government forces have recently ceased their offensive in the southwest of Damascus after Nusra Front terrorist group was defeated in the area and started engaging in talks.

After a year in which US -backed forces drove ISIS militants from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, experts warn that the terrorist group will remain a threat in 2018 as what some call a "virtual caliphate", NBC News reported.

The comments by British Army Major General Felix Gedney indicate that the coalition will rely on the Syrian government to go after ISIS militants in areas controlled by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In 2017, forces retook the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS.

"This is essentially ISIS", Gerasimov said. "Right now we have not completed the defeat of ISIS [Daesh], and it would not be the time to leave".

"They seem to be moving with impunity through regime-held territory, showing that the regime is clearly either unwilling or unable to defeat [ISIS] within their borders", Gedney said Wednesday.

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Washington has rejected similar Russian allegations in the past, saying USA forces remain committed to killing off the Islamic State and denying it safe havens.

While Russia has partial withdrawn its own forces from Syria, Gen. Gerasimov said Moscow has kept an air base and naval facility in the nation and is well placed to deal with pockets of instability if and when they arose. "Our pursuit of these terrorists is as tenacious and determined as ever", he said.

Only three weeks ago on December 5, the coalition estimated that 3,000 Daesh fighters remained at large in Syria.

Despite the coalition's successes in Syria and Iraq this year, there were no plans as yet to begin troop withdrawals, Gedney said. He said the United States military's longer-term objective would be to prevent the return of an "ISIS 2.0".

The following excerpt from the book Zacchea co-authored with - - illustrates the cultural complexities that Zacchea encountered then, and which lie ahead for Americans serving in Iraq and Syria now, and in the future.

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