By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
With Iraqi and Syrian armies and allies forces on track for the final assaults against ISIL in the last remaining bastions and with reports that the remnants of the terrorist group are on the run, it is pretty much evident that ISIL’s days in the Levant are numbered.
What’s significant though is that the ground offensives against ISIL have the blessing of the involvement of both Sunni and Shia volunteer forces, backed by Iranian military advisors and Iraqis and Syrians from all backgrounds. Meaning, the military campaigns and the ensuing victories are not factional, and hence they will not be short-termed after ISIL.
The prevailing judgment is that the ongoing battles are between good and evil, between truth and lies. It’s no coincidence that ISIL has seen its caliphate losing so many cities and towns in recent months. The terror group has also lost the strategic territories near the Syrian-Iraqi border, and historic Palmyra in central Syria to major offensives.
The forces on the ground are now expanding their offensive in northern Syria, drawing closer to the terror capital of Raqqa, while in Iraq, they have launched a campaign to liberate a series of villages on the road leading to Erbil. They have already begun operations beyond the liberated Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in preparation for a major offensive to kill or drive the remaining terrorists out of the border.
As it happens, the situation is grim for the terror group on multiple fronts. It is facing difficulties and losing territory. The current trends appear to be inexorably moving toward its ultimate defeat. ISIL has lost over 80% of the territory it once held in Iraq and some 70% of areas it controlled in Syria. These slow but steady battlefield losses are prompting ISIL to strike back against civilians with terrorist bombings.
If anything, ISIL now suffers from a crisis of confidence. It has shown that it is prepared to stop at nothing in creating human victims. The allied forces recognize that. They also know that they are fighting for the very soul of their religion, as ISIL does not speak for Islam and brings bad tidings.
Likewise, the forces realize that if ISIL is going to be defeated, they themselves must do it - not just with bullets and bombs, but with a version of their faith that rejects sectarian violence. After all, the vast majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims rejects the violent ideology of the kind ISIL preaches and support the ongoing military campaigns against the terror group.