The U.S. and Turkey have been attempting to work through tensions regarding priorities inside Syria and the composition of anti-ISIS forces over a number of years. ISW's timeline identifies key events that preceded the U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Turkish incursion into Northern Syria.
What will be the immediate effects and long-term consequences of the U.S. decision to withdraw its forces from Syria? ISW's experts assess the risks to American national security.
Not only is ISIS's return now a given after the announced U.S. withdrawal from Syra, but jihadists worldwide are also emboldened. ISW's Col. (Ret.) Ketti Davison warns of the strategic dangers that will flow from this policy decision.
This ISW graphic depicts the major attacks on prisons conducted by al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS's predecessor) in 2005 and in 2012-2013. A resurgent ISIS in 2019 sees breakouts of its detained fighters across Syria and Iraq as key to its future rebuilding.
This ISW map depicts an assessment of ISIS's control, attack, and support zones across Iraq and Syria as of August 2019. ISIS's accelerating campaign to rebuild strength is now coinciding with a new Turkish incursion into Northern Syria and the announced withdrawal of nearly all U.S. forces from Syria.
Turkish military forces and proxies are conducting a new offensive into Northern Syria that will affect the counter-ISIS campaign, among other issues. The latest ISW map depicts the situation on the ground as of October 11, 2019.
The latest Crisis Brief podcast looks at the consequences of a Turkish operation into Northern Syria targeting the Syrian Kurdish-led forces that have been central to the counter-ISIS campaign. In the first episode, ISW's Jennifer Cafarella and John Dunford cover potential next moves by ISIS, Iranian proxies, and the Assad regime.
Turkey is preparing to launch a new military operation in Syria that will undermine key U.S. national security interests. The Syrian Democratic Forces will be forced to de-prioritize the fight against ISIS while key oil infrastructure in Eastern Deir ez-Zour Province will be put at greater risk of targeting by the pro-Assad coalition.
ISIS has mounted low-level efforts to replenish its ranks from members held in detention facilities and displacement camps across Syria and Iraq since late 2018. ISIS is likely preparing more coordinated and sophisticated operations to free its detained members in Iraq and Syria.
Over several "Crisis Brief" podcast episodes, ISW's Jennifer Cafarella explains the protests spreading across Iraq and the underlying political dynamics. She also looks beyond the immediate situation to chart the possible trajectories ahead and the effects on key U.S. national security concerns, from the counter-ISIS fight to Iran's destabilizing role.