On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.
This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.
Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.
In the fight between the Assad regime and the Sunni Arab rebellion against it, a rebel attempt at a counterattack in the city of Deraa has led to renewed bloodshed. The regime is continuing its attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, despite a new Russian-brokered cease-fire.
But while the tactical contests are continuing, the general direction of events in both the war against Islamic State and the fight between Assad and the rebels is now clear.
Islamic State is on its way to ceasing to exist as an entity controlling significant territory. This process is set to continue many months. But having lost tens of thousands of fighters and with the flow of recruits drying up, facing enemies with complete control of the skies and vast superiority in numbers and equipment, Islamic State has no means of reversing the trend.
In Assad’s war further west, meanwhile, the rebellion is in retreat, and its eventual eclipse seems a near certainty.
Source: for MORE