“The Islamic State’s recent defeats on the battlefield signal that its once-vaunted militia army has been hobbled by worsening money problems, desertions and a dwindling pool of fighters, analysts and monitoring groups say….’These issues suggest that as an entity that is determined to hold onto territory, the Islamic State is not sustainable,’ said Jacob Shapiro, an expert on the Islamic State who teaches politics at Princeton University.” — Washington Post, February 6, 2016
The WaPo was by no means the first to pronounce the Islamic State in imminent danger of death. The Atlantic announced in January 2015: “ISIS Is Losing Its Greatest Weapon: Momentum: Evidence suggests that the Islamic State’s power has been declining for months.”
A CNN headline asked in November 2014: “Has ISIS peaked? Terror group suffers setbacks in Iraq.”
CNN followed a few weeks later with “For ISIS, tough times as it seeks to regroup.”
The New York Times announced on February 4, 2015, that “ISIS Is Losing in Iraq.”
On April 15, 2015, Vox issued its own report: “ISIS is losing.”
“Isil launches Syria assault, achieving biggest advance along Turkish border for two years,” by Louisa Loveluck, Telegraph, May 29, 2016:
Thousands of civilians fled an Isil offensive on Sunday as the terrorist movement achieved its most significant advance along the Turkish border for two years.
The three-pronged attack threatened to overrun the last swathe of territory in eastern Aleppo province held by non-jihadist rebels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said at least 6,000 people had sought safety in Kurdish-controlled territory to the west.
Others joined the burgeoning number of civilians camped along the Syrian side of Turkey’s now closed border. As many as 165,000 displaced people may now be scattered in fields and informal settlements along the frontier, as well as in the nearby town of Azaz.
Although Turkey says it has an open-door policy for Syrians fleeing war, the border remains closed to all but the most severely injured, and Turkish police have shot refugees trying to cross illegally.
In clearing rebel forces from Azaz and the nearby town of Marea, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) would strengthen its hold on a stretch of land along the Turkish border. Control of the area would allow the terrorists to threaten the Bab al-Salama border crossing, the strip of territory where thousands of civilians are now concentrated – and thousands more are expected to flee in the coming days.
Isil appears to be using its new territory to re-start its war against the Turkish state. After a two week lull, Isil launched fired more projectiles at Kilis, a Turkish border town where refugees and local residents now live in fear of the group’s rockets.
Marea has long been a bastion of relatively moderate rebel forces fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad. During almost six years of war, the town has survived regime tank and air assaults and the effects of Isil’s chemical weapons.
But the terrorists finally entered the town on Friday, surrounding its hospital for ten hours before being pushed back. “We are very scared inside this hospital. We know Isil is coming back,” said one member of the medical staff, asking for his name to be withheld. Hours later, Isil gunmen did return – and the fighting continued as night fell….