Dabiq articulates the ISIS vision in a more comprehensive way than could be gleaned by simply tracking military offensives.

ISIS is executing a sophisticated global strategy that involves simultaneous efforts in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the wider world. ISW and the U.S. Army War College conducted a wargame early this year....

This map shows ISIS's global ambition throughout its three "rings." Interior Ring: Iraq and Syria. Near Abroad Ring: The greater Middle East, N. Africa, and S. Asia region. Far Abroad Ring: The West and into Asia.

The combined Kurdish offensive against ISIS in Sinjar is less significant as a tactical gain against ISIS than as a symbolic victory for multiple Kurdish factions that will ultimately compete for dominance. 

This reference guide provides a baseline for identifying Syrian opposition groups. The guide aims to permit researchers to track how groups realign as the Russians commence operations.

Latest from ISW

Russia Security Update: November 18-25, 2015

Turkey sharply escalated Russian-NATO relations on November 24 by downing a Russian Su-24 bomber near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey reported that the Russian bomber had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings before Turkish F-16s shot the aircraft down. Syrian rebels killed one Russian pilot, and a subsequent search-and-rescue mission in northern Syria resulted in the death of a Russian marine and the destruction of a Russian helicopter.

Iraq Control of Terrain Map: November 25, 2015

Kurdish forces recaptured the Yazidi-majority district of Sinjar, west of Mosul from ISIS on November 13. Confrontations between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will grow increasingly likely as both seek to control Sinjar, while Kurdish control over the mixed-demographic district is already leading to heightened tensions between Yazidis and Sunni Arabs.

Russo-Turkish Tensions Since the Start of the Russian Air Campaign

Russia and Turkey have long been at odds over Syria, with Moscow backing President Bashar al Assad and Ankara supporting the opposition to overthrow him. Tensions increased dramatically with the start of the Russian air campaign on September 30. The Turkish shoot-down of a Russian combat aircraft on November 24 is an escalation in this tense stand-off between Russia and a NATO member.

Russia Security Update: November 11-18, 2015

Russia is attempting to align itself with France in the wake of ISIS’s terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13. Russia took steps to reassert its freedom of action in Syria as France expanded its anti-ISIS air campaign in response to the Paris attacks. On November 17, Russia launched air strikes from long-range strategic bombers for the first time since its intervention in the Syrian Civil War and announced plans to deploy 12 additional fixed-wing attack aircraft.