The tide of the war is turning against the Islamic State. Between 1 Jan and 15 December 2015, the Islamic State lost control of 14 per cent of its territory. New analysis indicates that in the last 3 months, the Islamic State has lost a further 8 per cent of its territory.
In 2016, we have seen major losses in the north-east extend south towards Raqqa and Deir al-Zour as the mixed-sectarian Kurdish and Sunni Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advance under the cover of US and Russian airstrikes. The Syrian government has also made gains in the West, now stands just 5km outside the ancient city of Palmyra, which was overrun by the jihadists in mid-2015.
The Islamic State’s last major territorial advance into Palmyra and Ramadi in June 2015 came at the expense of losing large swathes of territory in northern Syria. These included the strategically important Tal Abyad border crossing, which was the group’s main crossing point between Turkey and the so-called Caliphate’s de-facto capital city of Raqqa. […]