Since October of 2015, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has captured some 50 villages in eastern Aleppo during an offensive which halted the ISIS-imposed siege on Kuweiris Airbase. Furthermore, government forces have advanced along the M45-highway (Hama to Raqqah) and reached the western fringes of ar-Raqqah province while also completely repelling the ISIS offensive which had the government supply route to Aleppo cut last week.
Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have taken firm control of the northern region of the ar-Raqqah governorate. Last year, Kurdish forces won a last-minute battle against ISIS at Kobane city. Moreover, the YPG seized upon vital momentum and remarkably captured the entire Turkish-Syrian border area which stretches from ar-Raqqah to Hasakah together with hundreds of ISIS-held villages.
Since Russia launched its airstrikes on the Islamic State, the self-proclaimed caliphate has shrunk approximately 20% in Iraq and Syria respectively. For now, ISIS controls less than 10% of the Turkish border while both Kurdish and Syrian troops have made considerable encroachments upon the governorate of ar-Raqqah. The latter’s provincial capital is arguably the most important stronghold of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s forces.
Hardly a year old, ISIS proclaimed it was now a state and quickly expelled rebel forces from all areas with even the slightest ISIS presence. Later, the notorious group put itself on the lips of the world audience with terrorist attacks in the Middle East, Paris and even the United States of America.
However, given the current rate of advances by the Iraqi Army, Syrian Arab Army and YPG/SDF, the caliphate is likely to be wiped off the map in Iraq and Syria within a few years. Nevertheless, the Islamic Sate has now established itself elsewhere in the region; most notably in Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia.