MEDirections is delighted to share a new Policy Brief from the Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria project (WPCS).
After five years of fierce battles, the military campaign succeeded in bringing down the Caliphate – that Islamic State (IS) declared in 2014 – with the liberation of the group’s last stronghold in eastern Syria by the US backed Kurdish forces in March 2019. However, while IS lost its territory, the group with its fighters and ideology remain robust in Syria. As IS attacks are increasing in the areas controlled by Kurdish forces, Syrian opposition factions, and the Syrian regime, these different actors and their foreign allies follow the military approach as the only strategy to defeat the group. Yet, military action will be insufficient to defeat IS, unless it is accompanied by other political, economic, and religious measures. This paper analyzes the size and scope of IS activities over the past two years, the factors that strengthen the group’s presence, and finally, it offers policy recommendations on the measures needed to defeat IS in Syria.