ISIS Footholds

ISIS Footholds

As the war in Syria continues to rage, the Islamic State has lost a crucial foothold on the Turkish border which greatly debilitates their ability to sell black market oil. The Kurdish militia has recently ousted Islamic State forces in the region of Tal Abyad along the Syrian-Turkish border. This location served as a logistical support hub for the Islamic State, where black market oil would pass through.Syrian-Turkish Border As the black market oil revenue has largely funded Islamic State operations, this loss is a significant victory for Kurdish and Allied nations in their fight against the terror organization. In the fall of 2014, Kurdish forces fought a brutal campaign to retake the northern Syrian town of Kobane. With allied air support the Kurds were able to liberate the city from Islamic State militants and inflict a serious blow to the terror organization. Thousands of fighters from ISIS were killed in the battle, and despite their concentrated efforts to retake the city they were driven out and put on the defensive.

While the majority of ISIS operations remain in Syria and Iraq, splinter groups have gained footholds in Libya and the Sinai Peninsula. Following the Gadhafi governments fall in Libya, the new national government has been unable to libyan-copt-2unite the nation and organize an effective effort to counter the growth of terrorism and Islamic extremism in the region. The power vacuum allowed ISIS to gain significant ground and establish operations. Attacks against the new Libyan government forces, as well as civilians has increased dramatically in recent months and may lay the ground work for future operations to wipe out the terrorist organization. The murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians this spring has brought Egypt into the coalition to defeat ISIS.

The security situation in the Sinai Peninsula also remains volatile. The Islamic State has established a base of operations in the region and as a result, not only have the Egyptian people suffered but also those living in the Gaza Strip. Border crossings into the Gaza Strip have been closed by the Egyptian government, greatly restricting the movement of goods into the territory. Israel Border crossingFears of Islamic State militants supplying Hamas, as well as ISIS splinter groups conducting terrorism in Israel has led to increased security along the Gaza Strip. This had largely meant that rebuilding efforts in the region, following last year’s war between Hamas and Israel, has not been adequate for the Palestinians living there. Supplies that had previously been brought through Israeli and Egyptian border crossings has dwindled, with only one crossing remaining open on the Israel border, those supplies are under intense scrutiny by Israeli defense forces ensuring no weapons are supplied to Hamas.

About The Author

Kyle is a Military Historian and Managing Editor at Strategy & Tactics Press. A fourth-generation combat Veteran, Kyle retired from the United States Army in 2010. He specializes in military operations from 1945-Present and has written extensively regarding the future of asymmetrical warfare.

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