Fading ISIL in Syria lashes out, kills 128 in reprisals as Gov’t takes back Town

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The so-called Islamic State group of Syria and Iraq, which locals call Daesh (in US, it is ISIS or ISIL), needs a new name. It hardly exists in either of those countries, much less as a state. Maybe “Losers anywhere” would work for them.

The extremists, who genocided the Yezidi Kurds and ruined hundreds of thousands of lives, are still dangerous, the way rattlesnakes are when driven from their nest. They are going back to their roots as a small terrorist organization and revenge is on their minds. One strategy members of defeated social groups sometimes adopt is to “haunt” the victors by harassing them.

The viciousness of Daesh was demonstrated once again in Qaryatayn, Syria. A small town of 15,000 on the road from the capital of Damascus to the central city of Homs, it has lived the Syrian civil war as though on a see-saw. In ordinary times it would just be a two and a half hour drive from Damascus.

Its city elders initially tried to stay neutral, but the town is on north-south routes that made it key to smuggling arms or the movement of people (deserters from the Syrian Arab Army of the Baath regime of Bashar al-Assad headed north through it).

In 2015 Daesh took over the town and terrorized its inhabitants, demanding absolute loyalty to its crackpot medieval ideas. There were a lot of Christians in Qaryatayn and its environs, whom Daesh abused and chased out of their homes. They destroyed a historic church.

Then last March, 2017, the Syrian Arab Army took it back. The SAA is spread very thin, however, and around the first of October Daesh infiltrators got back into the town and took it over. On Saturday, the Syrian government recovered it with the help of the Shiite Lebanese militia Hizbullah and perhaps Iraqi Shiite militias as well.

What did they find? 128 bodies of townspeople whom Daesh terrorists accused of having collaborated with Damascus. D’uh, they were under Syrian government control from last March.

As the SAA troops and their militia allies closed in on Qaryatayn late last week, Daesh cultists summarily executed some 83 people in the town on charges that they were enabling the government advance somehow. The paranoia and rodent-like fear of the terrorists is palpable in this act of viciousness and desperation.

It wasn’t the only such incident. After they took back parts of Deir al-Zor from Daesh, the Syrian Arab Army found over 200 victims in a mass grave.

Last week, the leftist Kurds of the YPG announced that they had completely taken Raqqa in eastern Syria, the capital of Daesh/ISIL. The terrorist organization thus no longer controls significant territory.

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Related video:

Syria War Map 23/10/2017

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5 Responses

  1. While reading this about ISIL I could not but help recall that 2010 DOD assessment to how the U.S. should allow the enemy of our enemy enough destruction room, so as to soften or defeat Baha’i al-Assad. While this strategy is nothing new to warfare, it’s biggest drawback is that, you only put off until tomorrow what you should have accomplished today. Let’s face it, if the only goal of the mission were for the U.S. to defeat Daesh or ISIL then the U.S. would have been done and out of there faster than you could find Syria on a map. Well maybe not that fast, but faster than this war has gone for what all has been done.

    In the end the U.S. will need to go to the top of the mountain, and do some deep reassessment to if this Middle East adventure of destruction was worth it, in order to obey and dutifully implement the Oded Yinon Plan. With this Israeli Plan in mind, it has always bothered me to how important this massive undertaking really is, when held up to respecting a nation’s sovereignty. In time these sins of influence will be hard to wash away, without a complete realignment of America’s mission, and it’s adherence to it’s allies wishes.

    I’m not talking of how isolationism is the remedy for America, or should it be considered the only solution to America’s involvement in the Middle East. No I’m talking about an America which respects the international rule of law, and a America who does the right thing.

  2. Juan, I agree with you that this name “Islamic State” (or “Islamic State group”) is now totally inappropriate. However, for reasons never clear to me the US media decided some time ago that it was to be called that and continues to do so, even as any remnant of an actual state has pretty much disappeared and is probably about to do so totally. So in a story yesterday in WaPo about the fall of Raqqa, there was the reporter quoting people referring to the group as Daesh and ISIS and ISIL, none of them calling it “the Islamic State,” but the WaPo story so unhelpfully informed its readers that these terms were “acronyms for the Islamic State.” Gag.

    This has been a personal matter for me as I have recently completed with my wife, Marina, the third edition with MIT Press of our widely used textbook, Comparative Economics in a Transforming World Economy. Foreseeing that Daesh would cease to be any kind of state by the time our book hits the market early next year we insistently called it “Daesh” with at one point a footnote linking it to the other names, with “Islamic State” the last one and least preferred. A copy editor demanded that we call it “Islamic State.” We refused and got our way. Clearly we called it. But it is about time for media anywhere or anybody anywhere to stop complimenting it with this now meaningless title, “Islamic State.”

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