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Islamic State Threat Rises in Syria and Iraq

Islamic State Threat Rises in Syria and Iraq
As U.S. and Allied forces crumble in the face of the Turkish offensive.
By Christine Williams

An article published in Sahara Reporters provides an immediate insight into an ongoing, but largely forgotten battle with the Islamic State. The Islamic State (ISIS) threat continues in the Levant, despite the destruction of the caliphate by American and allied forces several years ago. In 2022 in Syria, America and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed 466 ISIS jihadis; 215 were taken prisoner. In Iraq, 220 ISIS jihadis were killed and 159 captured. The consequent total of 686 killed and 374 captured doesn’t provide the full picture. Between July and September, ISIS carried out 74 attacks in Syria and 73 attacks in Iraq. In addition, “there is a literal ‘ISIS army’ in detention in Iraq and Syria,” according to American Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla. There are over “10,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities throughout Syria and more than 20,000 ISIS leaders and fighters in detention facilities in Iraq,” according to Kurilla. In total: 30,000 ISIS leaders and fighters remain in detention centers. Who is guarding them? That question will become clearer further on.

Turkey’s role in all this managed to escape mainstream media scrutiny during the height of the Islamic State caliphate. Even now, the question of Turkish influence in ISIS remains elusive. The Syrian Democratic Forces have been a crucial American ally in crushing ISIS in the region and continue to keep the Islamic State from proliferating once again. Yet our putative ally Turkey recently launched an assault against the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are made up mostly of Kurds. Turkey remains determined to drive the SDF out of Northern Syria and has been killing off SDF members. Once Turkey began its offensive in the region, America “reduced the number of partnered patrols in northern Syria with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)…. ahead of a feared ground invasion by Ankara.”

To further illustrate to the threat of the Islamic State, a Carnegie report stated: “the Turkish bombardment has recently targeted the security forces responsible for protecting Al-Hol camp which houses more than 55,000 families (some with ties to ISIS fighters), thus depleting the ability of our security and military forces to ensure the safety of the camps and the security of other detention centers.” The report further indicated an increase in ISIS activities that correlated with Turkish attacks, and stated that ISIS is “taking advantage of the fact” that the SDF “are busy defending the region and protecting the citizens against the Turkish aggression in the north.” The report concluded that “any Turkish military escalation against American forces “directly leads to an increase in ISIS activity.” The Syrian Democratic Forces declared in late November that they no longer have the capacity to continue guarding the Islamic State detention compounds if Turkey continued its offensive.

Inevitably, the 30,000 strong ISIS “army” in detention in Syria and Iraq, about which General Kurilla warned, is now a grave security risk, and a catastrophe waiting to happen.

This is also not the first time Turkey aided ISIS indirectly and underhandedly. Turkey has a problematic history with supporting Islamic State jihadists. The US Treasury Department has also stated that “throughout 2019 and 2020, Khanfurah’s Turkey-based money service business transferred funds to ISIS members throughout Syria.” Yet no one is adequately confronting Turkey as ISIS rebuilds.

The Kurds, meanwhile, have long struggled with statelessness and seek independence from Turkey. Their minority populations are significant in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, as well as Turkey. But Turkey demands that they submerge their identity and accept Turkish citizenship. Turkey views the SDF as a terrorist threat because it has direct links to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which seeks an independent Kurdish State. The SDF’s mission, aside from battling the Islamic State, ostensibly remains the establishment of a secular, free state in Syria. According to the Middle East Research and Information Project, Arabs across Syria have joined the SDF despite the fact that it is Kurdish-led. The SDF has thus become a formidable force against Turkey, gaining increased support from Syrian President President Bashar al-Assad, despite being previously regarded as intertwined with the earlier and wider Syrian opposition.

Russia has warned Turkey to avoid escalation with the SDF in Syria. But where does America now stand in this battle? This question must be considered in light of the added component of sizable jihad forces (in addition to the Islamic State) that are calling for the murder of American troops and the U.S.’s evacuation from the region. The answer is that Joe Biden’s handlers are being characteristically indecisive. According to an Atlantic Council report, Biden’s handlers have “approached Syria without a clear direction and purpose since taking office in January 2021,” while “Moscow further strives to situate itself as a dedicated mediator and guarantor of the status quo, warming its relations with Syria’s Kurdish leadership.” Biden’s handlers’ indecisiveness once again shows an America in decline as new global alliances are being created. The SDF now views America as a traitor. Increasing the complexity of the situation, which Biden’s handlers are ill-equipped to handle, is Russia’s war with Ukraine. Russia became close to al-Assad back when the Syrian president was weak. Now, Russia’s activities in Syria are linked to Moscow’s Ukraine strategy, as Russia has reportedly been recruiting Syrians to help fight in Ukraine. Israel is also busy in Syria, defending itself against Iranian proxies.

But the most important question remains: where does all this leave the battle against the Islamic State, which remains a global threat? One thing we do know: America isn’t dependable under Joe Biden’s handlers. It is no longer the leader of the free world. Recall how Biden’s handlers stepped aside in Iran deal negotiations and gave Russia a lucrative edge.

Turkey does not belong in NATO, but its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is erratic, unpredictable and prone to rage, which is likely a primary reason why no one relishes a confrontation with the country. Yet to turn a blind eye to a sustained attack on the SDF will have adverse consequences on many levels. With respect to controlling the resurgence of ISIS, the threat is not only regional, but also global, via open-door immigration policies which provide an easy opportunity for ISIS infiltration.

Back in June, renewed talk about kicking Turkey out of NATO circulated.

At the time, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham suggested Turkey’s membership in NATO should have been suspended, if Turkish troops attacked the Kurdish forces who had helped the U.S. destroy the ISIS Caliphate.

Turkey did attack, and nothing happened. According to Newsweek: “NATO does not have an option to suspend or even expel members,” but “NATO members can unanimously decide to stop assisting that ally.” It’s high time that NATO shun Turkey, a blatant enemy of freedom. Erdogan unequivocally declared his country’s values in 2021 when he stated about the Taliban that “Turkey has nothing that contradicts their beliefs.”

As the Islamic State capitalizes on the now-scattered American presence in North Syria, and a diminishing Syrian Democratic Forces as a result of a Turkish offensive, it is difficult to avoid concluding that Russia and al-Assad are now the main foes of the Islamic State. Thanks to Turkey, a renewed caliphate will likely appear, stronger than the first one, given the fact that ISIS is thriving in Africa, and the eagerness with which useful idiot globalists have welcomed the worst possible elements into their countries.

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