Just a day ago, things looked very grim for Syria. ISIL had seized territory and continued to advance, and al-Qaeda forces made their way into the country, but it looks like the Syrian army finally has victories to report. ISIL has been partly driven out of Hasakah, and U.S.-led raids have been hitting the group as it battled rebels. With these few victories, it looks like Syria is still alive.
Syria is reportedly not the country it used to be. Over half its population is either a refugee, an internally displaced person, and in desperate circumstances, reliant on food aid. Over half the country is torn between ISIL and rebel fighters. It looks like there is little hope left for the country to recover, but recent victories may contradict that appearance.
However, in recent hours, reports of the Syrian army taking back territory and driving ISIL out have been spreading. The U.S. has targeted ISIL and rebel alliances, and has made progress in eliminating their acquisitions. Overnight raids in Aleppo were aimed at targeted Islamic State positions. The country is plagued with al-Qaeda affiliated fronts and ISIL both trying to battle issues out on its territory. The al-Qaeda affiliate, Al-Nusra as teamed up with Ahrar al-Sham. Al-Nusra has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Washington. If a powerhouse such as the U.S. opposes the terrorists in the country, than Syria has hopes of remaining alive.
The country has been the site of a proxy war between different Sunni forces and Iran. War has been an issue, and opposition to the Assad-regime poses rebellion as well. There is a series of different dramas going on in the country, but if its army can continue to find progress with driving out ISIL and receiving help from the U.S., then there can be hope that the country will at least be free of one less terrorist group ravaging its territory. The fights between ISIL and the al-Nusra front and Ahrar al-Sham are a violent problem, but also give hope that ISIL will be weakened and easier to drive out. The Islamic State has even accused the al-Qaeda affiliates of working with the U.S. Reports of ISIS being driven out of Iraq have also been surfacing. However, before hopes get too high, it is important to remember that ISIL still has large amounts of territories in both Syria and Iraq.
The good news is that cooperation between the U.S. and Syrian forces that oppose ISIL and the al-Nusra front have a basis to team up on. The U.S. has to face its own problems involving the issues that ISIS brings. People are upset that although there are Islamic State militants blatantly marching around and taking Middle Eastern territory, the U.S. is not doing enough to stop them, when it has the capability to. However, the numerous air raids contradict such an accusation. Even other Arab states have contributed to air strikes to oppose the Islamic State, but the fact that ISIS is still a threat and maintaining territory goes to show how powerful it actually is. Perhaps if the Arab states contributed more, their efforts could bring even more victories. Their geographic closeness to the territories should give them an upper-hand at battling ISIS, and even an incentive to do so. Indeed, the Islamic State has not been stopped in spite of all the efforts involved, but it has been hindered. The reclaimed territory brings hope. Syria is staying alive.
By Tania Dawood
Al Jazeera- ISIL losing ground in parts of Iraq and Syria
The Globe and Mail0 Lyse Doucet: ‘The war in Syria..’
The Guardian- Air strikes against Isis continue day after US general defends bombing campaign
Yahoo- US-led raids hit IS battling rebels
Featured Photo Courtesy of Alessandra Kocman’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License