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ISIS Is Losing in Syria

Sept. 3, 2017 (EIRNS)—While still deadly dangerous, ISIS no longer has the power that it once had in Syria. Illustrative of this is the inevitable defeat of ISIS in central Syria by the Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, and the wayward ISIS convoy stranded in the Syria desert.

With regard to the first case, the Russian Defense Ministry reported yesterday that the village of Uqayribat (also sometimes rendered as Akerabat) has been liberated from ISIS by the Syrian army. Uqayribat was in the center of the pocket that Syrian forces closed on ISIS in central Homs province a couple of weeks ago. By liberating this settlement, the government forces destroyed the last major area where terrorists are putting up resistance in central Syria, the ministry reported. The Syrian Observatory reported, in coverage by Reuters, that the army and its allies had also taken other villages in the area, aided by Russian helicopters, and reported that intense fighting continued.

In the second case, a convoy of buses that departed from the Qalamoun region on the Syrian-Lebanese border last week with ISIS fighters and civilians on board, remains stranded in the Syrian desert at two different locations. The convoy was the result of an evacuation agreement between the Syrian and Lebanese armies and Hezbollah on the one side, and ISIS on the other, to allow the evacuation of about 300 ISIS fighters and another 300 or so civilians associated with them, to transfer to ISIS-held territory elsewhere in Syria, in return for the bodies of nine Lebanese soldiers whom ISIS killed three years ago and of an Iranian advisor killed more recently. The U.S. never recognized the agreement and so has prevented, through the use of air strikes, the transfer of that convoy to ISIS-held territory in Deir ez-Zor province.

"As the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has lost city after city in Iraq and struggles to hold on to territory in Syria, the stranded buses have become a striking metaphor for the militants’ stalled campaign,"

commented the New York Times. In other words, they no longer have the wherewithal to get the convoy where they want it to go, as they might have had in 2014 when they swept across Syria and Iraq, routing two armies in the process.