Pressure mounts on ISIS with twin assaults in Iraq, Syria

Kurdish-Arab forces launched a major assault against the Islamic State group in Syria’s Raqa province Tuesday and Iraqi forces advanced on it in Fallujah, piling pressure on the jihadists in two strongholds. The twin offensives marked some of the most serious ground efforts against ISIS since the group declared its self-styled “caliphate” straddling the Syrian-Iraqi border in 2014.

It’s clear that if the US wants to eliminate IS, it has to attack it on multiple fronts at the same time.

Washington-based Syria analyst Fabrice Balanche

Territory under ISIS control has been steadily shrinking for months but it has carried out a wave of attacks including bombings in the Syrian regime’s coastal heartland Monday that killed 177 people. It was the “deadliest bomb attack” on any regime-held area in Syria’s five-year war, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. The offensives came as Washington and Moscow scrambled to salvage a shaky ceasefire in Syria between the regime and non-jihadist rebels intended to pave the way for peace talks.

We recognise that the CoH (Cessation of Hostilities) is under severe stress, but believe that to abandon it now would be strategic error.

U.S. envoy for Syria Michael Ratney