NEW YORK, November 2 (RIA Novosti) – US-led airstrikes have not forced major retreats of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, Christopher Harmer, analyst from the Institute for the Study of War, told RIA Novosti Sunday.
"For about six months from April, ISIS [Islamic State] was winning everywhere they fought – beating the Syrian army, Iraq's army, the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan and Shia militias down south. They were winning everywhere they went," Harmer told RIA Novosti.
"US airpower has intervened to hit ISIS whenever they come out into the open: we've blunted their advance. But we have not seen any significant rollbacks of ISIS territory, just some peripheral areas, such as Mosul Dam," Harmer stated, adding that "overall, ISIS territory continues to expand" and "their influence in Syria … continues to expand".
The Islamic State is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
In September US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition. A US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.