Syria Update: Nothing Newsworthy

I know, it's been forever since I did one of these, but that's because nothing newsworthy has been happening. The Kurds are continuing to slowly grind through ISIS's capital city of Raqqa, which has turned out to be a very long and difficult fight. The rebels are mostly occupied with fighting against each other. The regime has been slowly clearing ISIS out of the desert in preparation for an eventual assault on Deir-az-Zor. Things are progressing slowly.

In Iraq, though, the Iraqi military has finally finished regrouping after driving ISIS out of Mosul, and have now begun an operation to clear ISIS out of the rest of the Mosul pocket. With Mosul liberated, ISIS's biggest city in the area is now Tel Afar, and that's where most of the fighting is taking place. It looks like there's also a secondary push from the direction of Mosul to clear out the countryside.

Once Tel Afar falls, ISIS will only control two major cities in Iraq: Hawija, which is in a pocket south of Mosul, and Qaim, along the Syrian border. Once they fall, ISIS will no longer control any densely populated Iraqi territory, though they will still have a major presence in Iraq in the former of covert cells, notably in Baghdad and Anbar.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the Filipino military still has not fully driven the ISIS-aligned Maute group from the city of Marawi, which they captured back in May. It sounds like ISIS has been squeezed back to the area around the mosque, so hopefully the battle will end soon, but the fact that it has taken so long is a devastating indictment of the Filipino military.

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