Any attempt to act against the Syrian government will make Islamic State and other terror groups in the country stronger, London-based consultancy IHS Markit said in a recent report, calling such situation an “inconvenient reality” for Washington.
Over the last 11 months, 43 percent of Islamic State (Is, formerly ISIS/ISIL) military actions carried out were against the Syrian government forces of President Bashar Assad, the open-source data gathered by IHS Markit’s Conflict Monitor revealed.
The US-backed “moderate opposition” accounted for 17 percent of IS fighting between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, with the remaining 40 percent being the jihadists’ skirmishes with rivaling rebel groups.
“It is an inconvenient reality that any US action taken to weaken the Syrian government will inadvertently benefit the Islamic State and other jihadist groups,” Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit, said as cited by the company’s website.
Strack described the current state of events in Syria by comparing Assad’s forces “the anvil to the US-led Coalition’s hammer.”
“While US-backed forces surround Raqqa, the Islamic State is engaged in intense fighting with the Syrian government around Palmyra and in other parts of Homs and Deir al-Zour provinces,” he said.
According to the analyst, weakening the Syrian forces, which are already overstretched on a large front, may lead to the jihadists moving from the desert to populated areas in the west of the country, which endangers such cities as Damascus and Homs.
Strack believes that Deir ez-Zor is currently the main strategic goal for Islamic State, as capturing the largest city in eastern Syria would allow the group to gain “a new major population center from which to run the Caliphate” after losing Mosul and Raqqa.
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