Recently there have been a number of news stories suggesting IS was sweeping across both Iraq and Syria; the Assad regime was on its last legs and the anti-IS coalition in Iraq was a failure. The following story suggests however that IS is still having a tough time in parts of Syria, losing ground to FSA and Syrian Kurdish forces. This is not to say that IS is actually “losing” in Syria, or that everything in Iraq is going as planned/hoped. Rather, the situation in both countries is fluid and complex, and momentum will probably change many more times before anything gets settled. Stories about decisive turning points (one way or the other) therefore need to be taken with a big grain of salt.
“US-based Kurdish journalist, Mutlu Civiroglu, who just returned to the US from Turkey, said that the loss of Tal Abyad was a massive loss for IS.
“Tel Abyad was their main access to the outside world. Reportedly, most foreign fighters have been pouring into Syria from Tal Abyad,” he told Middle East Eye by telephone.
“Moreover, IS border trade is going to have a huge blow, since not only foreign fighters are coming in, they also sell things [such as oil] outside,” he added, referring to cross-border trade between IS border regions and areas in Turkey.
The re-capture of Tal Abyad also crucially opens the road south to the YPG and its allies and could help the Syrian FSA rebels to continue their attacks on Raqqa province. With the Kurdish areas now partially liberated, they could become a solid staging ground against Syria’s IS capital, once again making something that felt so out of reach only a week ago seem almost within reach.”