Is ISIS Coming to Damascus?

June 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Who rises if Assad falls?

That question, which has bedeviled U.S. experts on the Middle East, may need updating to read: Who rises when Assad falls?

For the war is going badly for Bashar Assad, whose family has ruled Syria since Richard Nixon was president.

Assad’s situation seems more imperiled than at any time in this four-year civil-sectarian war that has cost the lives of some 220,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians, and made refugees of millions more.

Last month, ISIS captured Palmyra in central Syria, as it was taking Ramadi in Iraq. A coalition, at the heart of which is the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, seized Idlib province in northern Syria and is moving toward the coast and Latakia.

Half of Syria has been lost to ISIS, the Nusra front, and other jihadist and rebel groups. All of Syria’s border crossings with Iraq have been lost to ISIS. All of the border crossing with Turkey, excluding Kobani, have been lost to ISIS or rebels linked to al-Qaida. Syria’s border with Lebanon is becoming a war zone.

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