ISIS's Regional Campaign: December 2015

January 11, 2016 - Press ISW

ISIS’s affiliates in Libya and Pakistan gained new supporters and expanded attack zones in December 2015. ISIS’s largely dormant affiliates in Algeria and Russia’s North Caucasus region also conducted rare attacks, potentially signaling a renewal of ISIS activity in those areas. Each of these affiliate campaigns give ISIS resiliency outside of Iraq and Syria.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: December 28, 2015 - January 7, 2016

January 8, 2016 - Genevieve Casagrande

The tempo of Russian air operations slowed considerably from January 4 - 7.  ISW was only able to confirm 17 locations of Russian airstrikes during the reporting period, the lowest volume of Russian strikes since early October 2015. The cause of this decrease currently remains unclear; as the lull may have been caused by changing weather conditions, shifts in Russian posturing inside Syria, or deferred maintenance activities following several weeks of heavy Russian airstrikes.  

Iraq Situation Report: December 22, 2015 - January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016 - Patrick Martin

The ISF made significant gains in Ramadi in December, clearing much of the city center and recapturing the government complex on December 28.

Russia Security Update: December 22, 2015-January 5, 2016

January 5, 2016 - Hugo Spaulding

Russia heightened its confrontation with the U.S. and its allies beyond conventional military aggression, conducting information, economic, and possible cyber operations. President Vladimir Putin instituted a new national security strategy outlining Russia’s primary security objectives and threats. Russia accused the U.S. and its partners of conducting multimodal warfare in an effort to contain Russia’s resurgence as a great power, a core objective in its updated strategy. Moscow also suggested that U.S.

The Syrian Opposition’s Political Demands

December 29, 2015 - Genevieve Casagrande

Key Takeaway: The ongoing Vienna process will likely fail to end the Syrian Civil War because it does not provide adequate incentives to Syria’s powerful armed opposition factions to lay down arms. The Vienna process relies on agreements made between international powerbrokers independent from the demands of both pro- and anti-regime Syrian factions.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: December 18 - 27, 2015

December 29, 2015 - Genevieve Casagrande
Russian airstrikes continue to weaken the position of the Syrian armed opposition ahead of negotiations between pro- and anti-regime forces scheduled for January 25. An alleged Russian airstrike in Eastern Ghouta on December 25 killed leading Salafist rebel commander Zahran Alloush, the commander of prominent Damascus-based group Jaysh al-Islam.

Iraqi Security Forces Clear Ramadi’s Government Center

December 28, 2015 - Patrick Martin

 The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) reportedly recaptured the government complex in central Ramadi on December 28 after clearing ISIS-held areas south of the complex on December 26 and 27.