After Palmyra, the last days of the phony Caliphate?

TeleSur

The loss of the historic city amounts to one of the biggest setbacks for the extremist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014.

Syrian government forces backed by Russian airstrikes battled Islamic State group insurgents around Palmyra on Monday, trying to extend their gains after taking back control of a city whose ancient temples were dynamited by the extremist militants.

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The loss of Palmyra on Sunday amounts to one of the biggest setbacks for the extremist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014 across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian army said the city, home to some of the most extensive ruins of the Roman Empire, would become a “launchpad” for operations against Islamic State group strongholds in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor, further east across a vast expanse of desert.

Syrian state media said on Monday that Palmyra’s military airport was now open to air traffic after the army cleared the surrounding area of Islamic State fighters.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Amman, said he was “encouraged” that Syrian government forces had been able to drive Islamic State group out of Palmyra and that the city’s ancient heritage could now be preserved.

But the Syrian opposition said it feared President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were using a fragile cessation of hostilities in the wider conflict to make territorial gains.

Via TeleSur

Posted in Syria | 6 Responses | Print |

6 Responses

  1. To make territorial gains… By the government in its own country? Is that a bad thing? The Islamist opposition to the secular Assad is getting ridiculous.

  2. While Daesh proclaims its phony caliphate and is slowly driven back from its gains, Tayyip Erdogan quietly creates a more serious looking caliphate on Europe’s doorstep.

  3. Contrary to many pundits opinions, Obama’s Syria strategy seems to be working. It does not allow us to beat our chest and claim “we won, we’re number one!” But slowly and surely and covertly Daesh is being defeated, and with a minimal cost in US lives and treasure. And we are avoiding another quagmire. Just sorry that most Americans will not appreciate the success of that policy; and sorry it took Obama so long to learn how to stand up to the military-industrial complex.

  4. …”President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were using a fragile cessation of hostilities in the wider conflict to make territorial gains.”

    Which would be A Bad Thing if those territorial gains came at the expense of those opposition forces that were observing this current cessation of hostilities.

    But it isn’t.

    The Syrian Army’s territorial gains are coming at the expense of a group that not only isn’t observing the current ceasefire but was quite explicitly EXCLUDED from gaining the protection of that ceasefire.

    Basically, the ceasefire declares that it is open-season on ISIS.

    And if the Syrian Army wants to take the opportunity that this open-season-on-ISIS presents to take the Caliphate to the cleaners then everyone – but everyone – should be applauding their efforts.

  5. DH. Control of territory is critical for the caliph because his authority is largely based on territory he controls and the number of Muslims who acknowledge his authority. The caliph is expected to increase the territory of the caliphate. That is why the Ottoman rulers (who were not considered to be caliphs) tried to enlarge their territory into Eastern Europe.

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