Despite months of American fighter jets and drones dropping bombs on several keys ISIS targets in Syria, the Islamic State is still advancing and capturing swaths of territory.
ISIS has apparently been able to take advantage of their small and dedicated jihadist fighters’ knowledge of Syrian terrain, seemingly putting them one step ahead of American-led opposition forces (video above).
An exclusive report from The Daily Beast sheds more light on this troubling news:
At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.
In Syria, ISIS “has not any lost any key terrain,” Jennifer Cafarella, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War who studies the Syrian conflict, explained to The Daily Beast.
Even U.S. military officials privately conceded to The Daily Beast that ISIS has gained ground in some areas, even as the Pentagon claims its seized territory elsewhere, largely around the northern city of Kobani. That’s been the focus of the U.S.-led campaign, and ISIS has not been able to take the town, despite its best efforts.
Here is a picture of Syria in August 2014:
And here is a picture of the same territory just months later:
“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official said according to The Daily Beast.
The maps above were produced by the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a Syrian-American opposition umbrella group. As you can see, ISIS doubled the amount of territory it now waves it’s iconic black flag under.
Here’s another look at ISIS’ advancements, before and after:
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) January 16, 2015
“Assessing the map, ISIS has almost doubled its territorial control in Syria. But more importantly, the number of people who now live under ISIS control has also increased substantially,” CDS political adviser Mouaz Moustafa said.
Moreover, Obama’s poll numbers haven’t looked worse when it comes to how people judge his foreign policy agenda.
Americans’s think Obama’s overall handling of foreign policy (34 percent approve vs. 57 percent disapprove) sucks. So Hillary Clinton, the assumed Democratic nominee, will have a tough time detaching herself from her old boss’s bad foreign policy record.
A measly 33 percent of voters approve of how Obama is handling ISIS, while 56 percent disapprove–including 29 percent of Democrats who also disapproval.
Last August, Obama said “We don’t have a strategy yet” to defeat ISIS.
His strategy of an airstrike-heavy campaign isn’t working either.
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