The Road to ar-Raqqah: Background on the Syrian Democratic Forces

November 22, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande

The composition and behavior of the force that recaptures ar-Raqqah City will in part determine the long-term success of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS campaign in Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is the U.S.’s most effective partner fighting ISIS in Syria, but it has limitations that risk undermining the gains it makes on the ground. The SDF, although dominated by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), is not monolithic. The SDF coalition consists of Kurdish, Arab, Syriac Christian, and Turkmen groups. The U.S.

The Campaign for Mosul: November 16-21, 2016

November 21, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

The campaign for Mosul entered its second month, with current momentum indicating that the operation will last into January 2017. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) remained entrenched in eastern Mosul while facing fierce ISIS resistance from November 16 to 21, and Shi’a militias are on the outskirts of Tel Afar after seizing the nearby airbase on November 16.

Syria Situation Report: November 10 - 18, 2016

November 18, 2016 - Chris Kozak

Russia announced the start of a “major operation” allegedly targeting ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Western Syria. The operation included fighter jets launched from the Russian Aircraft Carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as cruise missile strikes by naval warships and strategic bombers. Local activists also reported the resumption of intense airstrikes against Aleppo City.

Iraq Situation Report: November 9-17, 2016

November 17, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

ISIS escalated its execution campaign in and around Mosul while reactivating networks in Anbar.

ISW Impact Highlights

November 17, 2016 - Press ISW

In 2016, ISW’s small team analyzed and forecasted the exponentially growing across va

The Campaign for Mosul: November 8-15, 2016

November 15, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

As the fight between the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and ISIS in and around Mosul compresses, the high stakes of the operation and close-contact warfare are increasingly placing Mosul’s civilian population in the crossfire.

Syria Situation Report: November 3 - 11, 2016

November 10, 2016 - Chris Kozak

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched ‘Operation Euphrates Wrath’ on November 6 with a stated goal to isolate the IS stronghold of A-Raqqa City. The announcement comes after the U.S. and Turkey reached an initial agreement on November 5 to allow the Syrian Kurdish YPG to participate in the isolation phase of the offensive. In exchange, Sunni Arabs will lead the final effort to “seize, hold, and govern” A-Raqqa City.

ISIS’s Global Attack Network: November 13, 2015 – November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016 - Melissa Pavlik

ISIS has organized a number of external attacks worldwide in the past year, some of which have been thwarted.

Iraq Situation Report: November 2-8, 2016

November 8, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

ISIS is attacking various locations and forces in Iraq in order to find and exploit a seam that can unravel the anti-ISIS Coalition.

The Campaign for Mosul: November 4-7, 2016

November 7, 2016 - Emily Anagnostos

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) moved deeper into Mosul’s eastern neighborhoods as the ISF and Peshmerga made significant gains on Mosul’s eastern and southern axes in an effort to encircle the city.