NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — In a recent report, Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) stated that the Islamic State (ISIS) has not entirely collapsed and has proven its ability to survive in various places in central and northeastern Syria.
The report pointed out that ISIS treats these two areas as interconnected theatres, giving it flexibility in its strategy for reasserting territorial control.
ISIS is still carrying out intensive operations in the Badia — Syria’s eastern desert — which extends between eight Syrian governorates, in addition to its activity in North and East Syria, particularly in Dayro Zcuro (Deir ez-Zor).
Those fighting ISIS should avoid escalation among themselves that would give the group more breathing room, advocated the ICG. Each actor should also work to limit the group’s freedom of movement between theatres, primarily by closing off smuggling routes, it added.
In North and East Syria, ISIS collects funds and stores supplies, launching attacks on security forces, technocrats, and clan dignitaries to weaken people’s confidence in local governance, wrote ICG. In northwestern Syria, it maintains hideouts for its mid-level and senior commanders, the report pointed out.