Fight against last vestige of Daeshin Syria stalls
AMMAN, JORDAN—A U.s.backed military offensive has stalled against the Daesh group’s last vestige in eastern Syria — in part because of the enemy that the allied fighting force had expected and other threats that it very much had not. Booby traps, landmines and a militant counterstrike have knocked the coalition back on its heels.
And last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting the Daesh with U.S. help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey — not far from U.S. advisers. U.S. diplomats and generals rushed to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists. But the episode underscores the shifting nature of the fight against the Daesh, a still-potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond.
“Although Daesh’s safe haven in Iraq and Syria has largely collapsed, its global enterprise of almost two dozen branches and networks ... remains robust,” Russell Travers, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told senatorslast month. The U.s.-backed military offensive was forced to back away from their operation due to a high level of unexpected threats.