Fight against IS is getting harder

(VOVworld)- It has been one year since the US launched a massive operation against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The fight against IS has cost billions of dollars but IS continues to expand its network, forcing the US-led coalition to take more drastic measures.

Fight against IS is getting harder  - ảnh 1
On August 12, for the first time, the US launched manned air strikes from the Incirlik base in Turkey against ISIS forces in Syria- Photographer: Staff Sgt. Eric Harris/U.S. Air Force

The US-led coalition launched its fight against IS, then a new terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, in late 2014. So far, more than 6,000 air strikes against IS have been carried out and 3.5 billion USD have been spent excluding the cost of training and consulting with Iraqi forces. But, the fight continues.

IS expands its influence

The US-led air strikes have killed thousands of IS fighters and 30% of the IS-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria has been retaken. But the US and its allies have failed to uproot IS, which has occupied a number of strategic strongholds and has expanded the war to other countries. One year after it occupied Mosul, a strategic city in northern Iraq, the IS expanded its operation to Ramadi, another strategic city, 100 km west of Baghdad. In Syria, a country that is bogged down in a civil war, Palmyra and border stations along Syria’s border with Iraq have also been occupied by the rebels. The Islamic State is strengthening its operations by expanding its territory, its army, and its financial resources from oil. The US and its allies have had to change their strategy.

Changing the war context

Turkey recently decided to cooperate with the US and participate in the fight after several months of standing outside it. The Pentagon has mobilized 6 F6 fighter jets and 300 soldiers to Turkey’s Incirlik airbase to strengthen its pressures against IS. The US has said it will spend 500 million USD on training Syria’s opposition forces over 3 years. On August 12, for the first time, the US launched manned air strikes from the Incirlik base in Turkey against ISIS forces in Syria.

Fight against IS becomes tougher

Because the US-led air strikes against the IS have not been effective, the fight’s ultimate goal has come into question. The Syrian government has said it will support efforts against IS once it joins the coalition and its ideas are taken into consideration. Russia has urged the US to cooperate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against IS arguing that the international alliance must include all available forces. But the US and several other countries have resolutely refused to recognize President Assad as their partner in the fight against IS.

Turkey’s cooperation has made it easier for the US to launch air strikes. But refusing to give the Syrian government a role will make it more difficult for the coalition defeat IS. Iraq and Syria are likely to oppose any external military intervention as a violation of national sovereignty. Russia and Iran are working on a plan to invite all involved parties including Syria’s government and the Kurds to take part in a negotiation. This plan could be a feasible solution to Syria’s crisis and create a breakthrough in the fight against IS.