Christopher Kozak

Position: 
Senior Analyst, Syria

 

Christopher Kozak is a Senior Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War where he focuses on Syria with an emphasis on the Assad regime and Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Christopher is the author of An Army in All Corners: Assad’s Campaign Strategy in Syria and has published several articles regarding the security situation in Syria, including “The Assad Regime Under Stress: Conscription and Protest among Alawite and Minority Populations in Syria”, “The Islamic State Eyes Expansion in Damascus”, and “The YPG Campaign for Tel Abyad and Northern ar-Raqqa Province”.  

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He previously worked with ISW’s Iraq Team, where he studied ISIS’s military strategy and use of social media. Christopher received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double-major in Political Science and International Studies (Global Security). He is proficient in Arabic and conversational Spanish. 

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Recently from Christopher Kozak

Aleppo Control of Terrain Map

The Competing Campaigns Against ISIS in Northern Syria

ISIS currently faces an unprecedented threat to its core terrain in Northern Syria from an array of competing actors. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces surrounded the key transit hub of Manbij in Eastern Aleppo Province on June 9, threatening to sever the last remaining supply lines available to ISIS over the Syrian-Turkish Border. Meanwhile, ISIS’s stronghold of Ar-Raqqa City faces mounting pressure as both the U.S.-led coalition and pro-regime forces advance into its countryside. These combined pressures forced ISIS to withdraw from its frontlines with opposition forces in Northern Aleppo Province in order to prioritize the defense of its core terrain. Nonetheless, the degrading position of ISIS in Northern Syria is poised to ignite further conflict between local and regional actors that may jeopardize future successes. The terrain vacated by ISIS will likely host renewed competition between Syrian Kurds, opposition groups, and pro-regime forces as well as a geopolitical struggle involving Turkey, Syria, Russia, and the U.S. These conflicts could strain the international anti-ISIS coalition and stall further progress against ISIS in Syria unless the U.S. can successful navigate the conflicting interests of its allies and adversaries in the region. 

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