ISIS incurred territorial losses in Iraq and Syria between February 27 and March 9, 2017. Pro-regime forces recaptured Palmyra with the assistance of Iran, Russia, and Lebanese Hezbollah on March 2. Pro-regime forces seized additional villages from ISIS in northeast Aleppo province on March 7 and March 9, recapturing critical infrastructure.
ISIS Sanctuary Map
This map shows areas of Control, Attack, and Support for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS launched offensives against the Syrian regime in Deir ez Zour, eastern Homs province, and eastern Damascus province in January 2017, exploiting the regime’s focus on Aleppo and attempting to offset or divert regime operations near al-Bab. Regime forces began to reverse ISIS’s gains in Homs province on February 14. ISIS lost additional territory in Mosul to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition in early 2017.
ISIS lost significant control zones near Mosul, Raqqa, and al-Bab since October 17, 2016. Anti-ISIS forces fully encircled Mosul and penetrated the eastern side of the city. Meanwhile in Northern Aleppo, rival Kurdish-led Operation Euphrates Wrath and Turkish-backed Operation Euphrates Shield encroached on ISIS-held terrain near Raqqa and al-Bab, respectively.
ISIS will continue to demonstrate its legitimacy and vitality, despite major losses to its core landholdings. ISIS lost control of the Turkish border on September 4 and the town of Dabiq in Northern Syria on October 16.
Alexandra Gutowski is a Counterterrorism Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War where she focuses on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in its core terrain of Iraq and Syria. She recently completed a Fulbright Scholarship in the United Kingdom where she obtained a Master's in Defense, Development, and Diplomacy at Durham University and conducted research on Shi’a insurgent groups. While in the UK, she advised companies on Middle East market entry for KPMG's London advisory practice and taught the firm's open source intelligence course.
Since the publication of ISW’s last sanctuary map on July 1, 2016, ISIS militants lost control of the city of Manbij and the town of Al-Rai in Northern Aleppo Province in a series of victories for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to set conditions for future operations to retake Mosul.
Since the publication of ISW’s last sanctuary map on May 25th, 2016, ISIS militants lost control of the city of Fallujah but were able to launch spectacular attacks in Lebanon and on the Jordanian border. ISIS continues to lose territory in Iraq, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are threatening its last major supply route from ar-Raqqa City to the Syrian-Turkish border.
ISIS lost terrain in Iraq but claimed an attack from a new governorate, Wilayat Sahel, on the northwestern coast of Syria deep in regime territory. ISIS militants launched complex suicide attacks in core regime territory in Tartus City and Jableh on May 23, 2016. ISIS will likely escalate attacks against Alawite communities on the Syrian Coast in order to exacerbate sectarian tensions during Ramadan.
Since the publication of ISW’s last ISIS sanctuary map on March 31, 2016, ISIS lost terrain in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured the city of Hit in Anbar Province, western Iraq from ISIS on April 14 as part of ongoing operations to secure the Euphrates River Valley. Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) forces also continue to contest ISIS's control in the Makhoul Mountains, north of Baiji.