ISIS pursued its regional and global objectives through multiple large-scale attacks during its Ramadan campaign from June 5 to July 5 despite continued losses in its core terrain in Iraq and Syria. ISIS surged activity during the last week of Ramadan, including attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad, Dhaka, and across Saudi Arabia. ISIS has expanded its global reach since its Ramadan campaign last year, which was the last time it executed a global wave of attacks of similar magnitude.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) retook Qayyarah Airfield West on July 9. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced on July 11 that the U.S. will deploy an additional 560 soldiers to Qayyarah airbase in order to provide logistical support for future ISF operations to retake Mosul.
The Islamic State has marked the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan with a global wave of terror. Its attacks in Istanbul; Baghdad; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and at multiple sites across Saudi Arabia have claimed hundreds of lives. These attacks follow a landmark mass-casualty shooting in Orlando, Florida, by a gunman who answered the Islamic State’s call to attack the United States directly...
The Syrian Arab Army declared the start of a seventy-two-hour nationwide ‘regime of calm’ between July 6 and July 8 to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. Local activists nonetheless reported that pro-regime forces continued to engage in clashes, shelling, and airstrikes across the country, particularly near the flashpoints of Damascus and Aleppo City.
ISIS detonated a suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED) in the majority Shi’a neighborhood of Karrada in central Baghdad on July 3, resulting in the deadliest attack in Iraq since 2003.
ISW has produced nearly 60 maps on Russian airstrikes in Syria since they first began on September 30, 2015. The first map appeared less than 24 hours after the Russians began strikes and they continue today as do the strikes despite a declared "cessation of hostilities" and an alleged Russian withdrawal.
Since the publication of ISW’s last sanctuary map on May 25th, 2016, ISIS militants lost control of the city of Fallujah but were able to launch spectacular attacks in Lebanon and on the Jordanian border. ISIS continues to lose territory in Iraq, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are threatening its last major supply route from ar-Raqqa City to the Syrian-Turkish border.
Russia continues to pressure the U.S. and regional actors into closer cooperation through its military intervention in Syria. Russia ultimately seeks to supplant the U.S. as a security guarantor in the Middle East and has used its air campaign in Syria to galvanize its demands for greater coordination in the theater.
The White House issued a proposal for direct military partnership with Russia in an effort to reestablish a faltering political process to end the Syrian Civil War. The proposal appears to represent a major concession to demands from Russia for deeper cooperation from the U.S. in the fight against “terrorism” as part of its wider strategic objective to secure international legitimacy as a security guarantor in the Middle East at the expense of the U.S.
ISIS has two main lines of effort in Turkey. The first is to incite an ethnic war between the Kurds and the Turkish state in order to weaken its opponents in northern Syria and regain freedom of action in southern Turkey. The second is to undermine the Turkish state and punish it for being part of the anti-ISIS coalition through attacks against western targets in Turkey.