Issue Brief on “ISIS – Moving towards its End”

Middle East as a whole has been home to a series of violent extremism. A new wave of extremism erupted after the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the announcement of caliphate by Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi in June 2014. ISIS has emerged as highly fanatical, as well as militarily efficient and under tight direction by top leaders. Its tactics have been to make a surprise attack, inflict maximum casualties and spread fear before withdrawing. 

However, ISIS which once vowed to fight till death is now witnessing a shift in its strategy. Earlier this month in September 2017, ISIS was defeated in a battle at the Lebanese-Syrian border that lasted for six days against the combined Syrian and Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.  Battered after the defeat and the wounds of Mosul fall still fresh, surviving ISIS fighters, a total of a little over 300, did something that has never been done by the organization in the past. The ISIS fighters; all 300 of them along with their families negotiated a safe passage for themselves to the town of Deir al-Zour in Syria – the last strong hold of ISIS, in exchange for the dead bodies of Lebanese soldiers.[1] This shift in strategy from fight till death, to surrendering and demanding a safe passage marks a strategic shift in the policy of ISIS. The group is heavily battered from the onslaught it has been facing for months. The group had survived similar onslaughts in 2007 and 2011 through the use of similar tactics, but this time it was different.

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