U.S. Dismayed By The Stall of Fight Against Last Vestige of ISIS in Syria

An American-backed military offensive has paused in eastern Syria.

An American-backed military offensive has stalled against the Islamic State’s last vestige in eastern Syria, reports The New York Times. Booby traps, land mines and a militant counterstrike during a fierce sandstorm after the campaign started in September knocked the coalition back. Then last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting ISIS with American help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey.

American diplomats quickly tried to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists, even though they are partnered with the United States. But this episode overall highlights the changing nature of the fight against the Islamic State, which is still a potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla  insurgencies in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“Although ISIS’s safe haven in Iraq and Syria has largely collapsed, its global enterprise of almost two dozen branches and networks, each numbering in the hundreds to thousands of members, remains robust,” Russell Travers, the acting head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told senators in Washington last month, according to The New York Times.

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