Country Risk

Syrian military and ISIS have been ‘ignoring’ each other on the battlefield

11 December 2014

The Syrian military and the Islamic State have been ‘ignoring’ each other on the battlefield, according to information from the IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (IHS JTIC) database.

The figures suggest that the Islamic State and Assad’s security forces have embraced the clever strategy of ignoring each other while focusing on attacking more moderate opposition groups.

"If we look through the IHS JTIC database for this year, we see that just six per cent of 982 Syrian counterterrorism operations targeted the Islamic State and only 13 per cent of 923 Islamic State attacks in Syria targeted Syrian security forces," said Matthew Henman, manager of IHS JTIC.

"These figures suggest that the Islamic State and Assad’s security forces have embraced the clever strategy of ignoring each other while focusing on attacking more moderate opposition groups.

"Assad is trying to downplay the Syrian revolution narrative and instead portray it as an Islamist insurgency against his government. This way, he can crack down on it with the indirect support of the West.

"The Islamic State is looking to engineer a scenario where it is just them against Assad. Therefore, right now the group’s focus in on marginalising moderate groups to the point where these groups’ fighters are ‘asked’ to join the Islamic State.

"The lose-lose situation that the West could be heading for is the Islamic State vs Assad.”

IHS JTIC worked exclusively with NBC News in London to produce the infographic which can be downloaded in full by clicking here.



(250 words)
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