ISIS Sanctuary: April 3, 2015

ISIS lost control over central Tikrit following an offensive by the ISF and allied forces with the support of coalition airstrikes. Tikrit was announced captured by the government on April 1, 2015, and PM Abadi, ISF commanders, and local government officials have toured the city center. Since that time, clashes have not been reported in the city and reports that looting of homes is taking place further indicates that combat operations in Tikrit have ceased. The areas immediately surrounding Tikrit likely remain an ISIS attack zone, however. Meanwhile, ISIS intensified its military campaign in central and western Syria. Over the past month, ISIS launched a series of successful hit-and-run attacks against regime checkpoints, military facilities, and oil installations throughout eastern Homs and Hama Provinces, including several villages along the regime supply route to Aleppo city. ISIS counterbalanced these operations with consistent pressure along frontlines in Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) canton and Hasaka Province meant to dissuade further Kurdish advances into core ISIS terrain. ISIS also reasserted its presence in southern Damascus city, advancing into the Yarmouk Camp district after heavy clashes with rebel forces. The nature of these offensives suggests that ISIS seeks to shape conditions for future territorial gains in the Syrian central corridor while bolstering its narrative of victory following losses in northern Syria and Iraq.