News / Middle East

US Airstrikes May Push Islamic State Back into Fight Against Assad

US Airstrikes May Push Islamic State Back into Fight Against Assadi
X
August 19, 2014 10:19 PM
Syria and the United States are both attacking Islamic State militants who have displaced thousands of civilians in Syria and northern Iraq. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq could push those forces back across the border and again into the fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria and the United States are both attacking Islamic State militants who have displaced thousands of civilians in Syria and northern Iraq.   But, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq could push those forces back across the border and again into the fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

While the fighters of the Islamic State have been sweeping through Iraq in recent weeks, Syrian troops have kept up their fight against both it and the opposition rebels - regaining ground near the Damascus airport while bombing militant positions near the border. And civilians continue to flee the fighting, says Human Rights Watch's Sarah Margon.

"We are looking at a very scaled-up, brutal situation not only in Syria, but also in Iraq where certainly the borders are increasingly blurred," she said.

But facing a counter-attack by the Kurdish Peshmerga, and unable to counter U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann says Islamic State fighters may also be more apt to refocus on Syria,

"It would be even more likely to become their next phase of activity if, in fact, the American operations in Iraq do slow their advances there and give them incentives to turn their attentions away from their more-difficult front to a front in which the Americans are not present," he said.

And he says with weapons and territory captured in Iraq, the Islamic State militants may now also be in a stronger position to confront Syrian government forces.

"It may be that they have reached a point where they can make a bit of a tactical pivot," Heydemann said. "Having secured a solid base, they can perhaps turn their attention more fully to the regime."

Even though the U.S. is launching air strikes against the same group that Syrian government forces are fighting - that does not give Washington common cause with Damascus, says Deputy U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf.

"While we may be looking at some of the same targets, I think the fact that, or targets from the same group, the fact that the Assad regime has allowed ISIS to flourish and grow in the way it has is really one of the main reasons they have grown so strong," she said.

That early alliance of convenience with ISIS against more moderate opponents is something Heydemann says Assad may find to have been a miscalculation.

"One of the big questions is whether in creating the conditions that permitted the rise of ISIS, including some direct measures like the release of militants from Syrian prisons who then joined ISIS, the regime will find that the backlash creates a much bigger problem than it anticipated," he said.

A problem that, at least for now, Syrian forces are getting help with - in the international drive against the Islamic State.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
August 24, 2014 2:09 PM
The very phenomenon of ISIL is the outcome of the Syrian civil war to fight the the Assad regime out of the Syrian dictatorship. The ISIL chief Baghdadi and his fancied a statehood out of the Syrian embroil is another dictatorship. What our air strikes upon the ISIL militia...... its complete objectives that our govt. has not fully revealed yet. Of course, the very objective of our govt. now is to keep the ISIL militia out of the Iraqi territory . And, that's to keep the militia inside the Syrian territory only for a ' do or die' policy in the Syrian civil war. The primus and princep drawback of the rebel groups that are fighting against the Syrian regime forces and the Lebanese Hezbolla militia is the lack of a resultant unity. There do remain many rebel groups as the Free Syrian Army, al Nusra front of the al Queda, the ISIL - an off-shoot of the al Queda, etc. If all the rebel units to fight under a unified command; then, to crushing the regime forces and to ousting the Syrian dictator wouldn't be difficile. So, for defending the very freedom, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq; and, the defense adjuvances of our friendly states and ours would be useful for the Iraqi govt. and people along with our precision air-strikes upon the ISIL. positions inside the Iraqi territory entirely, that's to go on. Besides, along with our air force jets, the use of non-lethal and lethal drones would be in the Iraqi air-space not for strikes at the sites of strategic importance of the ISIL only but to gathering strategic informations too.


by: Anonymous
August 20, 2014 10:12 AM
The rise of Isil is a direct consequence of the policy of fuelling the insurgency in Syria. No matter what the US state department claims, it is the lawlessness created by an externally supported insurgency that lead to this.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
August 19, 2014 10:33 PM
ISIL has a backing of Saudi Arabia. These human killers got training in Saudi Arabia how to behead man and woman. If USA wants peace in Middle East, then USA must ask sponsor of these terrorist groups to stop funding and training. If USA do not know who are sponsors of these terrorist groups I inform you now. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Jordon and Kuwait.

In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Heartland America
August 20, 2014 10:53 AM
Since there is no logic in what you say, I have to assume that you are a supporter of ISIS and are trying to turn the USA against its allies in the middle east.


by: Mr A from: new york
August 19, 2014 9:48 PM
If ISIS want retreat and fight back Bashar El Assad, we have to use air strike to attack them in Syria. Even we do not like Bashar El Assad. we have to put our different view aside and work together to get these criminal killed .


by: meanbill from: USA
August 19, 2014 7:48 PM
CRAZY isn't it?... The US fought the Sunni Muslims in the "Sunni Triangle" and in the "Triangle of Death" in Iraq for (6) years without defeating them, (and now), the US makes a few airstrikes with fighter planes and US killer drone bombs, (and the US spreads the propaganda), that the very small military actions they take, are helping defeat the (USIL) al-Baghdadi Sunni Muslim army?...... IF the US had given Iraq the warplanes they bought from the US in 2012, (they'd been of more use to the Iraqis), than the few bombs the US dropped on disabled (ISIL) pickup trucks.... (a spit in the ocean, is as much as the US bombs are accomplishing in Iraq).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid