Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran have internalized this basic principle.

ISIS continues to face military pressure on multiple fronts in Iraq and Syria. In response ISIS is heightening efforts to consolidate control along the Euphrates River Valley, and is also expanding its attack zones in western Syria and eastern Iraq. ISIS remains unchallenged in its core terrain.

This second report defines American strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria, identifies the minimum necessary conditions for ending the conflicts, and compares U.S. objectives with those of others actors. 

This first report from the Institute for the Study of War and AEI's Critical Threats Project examines America’s global grand strategic objectives as they relate to the threat from ISIS and al Qaeda. It considers the nature of those groups in depth and in their global context.

This newly-updated ISIS Sanctuary Map includes changes reflecting that Sinjar was retaken by anti-ISIS Kurdish forces and also highlights new confidence in the assessment that Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk - a rebel faction operating in Southern Syria - constitutes an unofficial ISIS affiliate in the region.

Latest from ISW

Assad Regime Gains in Aleppo Alter Balance of Power in Northern Syria

Battlefield realities rather than great power politics will determine the ultimate terms of a settlement to end the Syrian Civil War. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies in Russia and Iran have internalized this basic principle even as Washington and other Western capitals pinned their hopes upon UN-sponsored Geneva Talks, which faltered only two days after they began.

Russia Airstrikes in Syria: January 20-25, 2016

The Russian air campaign in Syria enabled strategic gains in the regime’s longstanding effort to buffer its coastal heartland in Latakia from January 23 - 25. Russian strikes targeted opposition-held positions along the frontline in both Jebel al-Akrad and Jebel Turkmen mountain ranges in Northern Latakia, facilitating the regime’s seizure of the town of Rabi’ah.