If there was such a thing as an “ideal scenario” for ISIS, it is quickly transforming to a reality in Syria as the group’s rivals are dealt severe blows by the Russian offensive, while a regional war in proxy is distracting from any serious ground mission to defeat it.
Russia’s tactics and alliances
While Moscow’s battle-plan could succeed in the short term in handing military victories to Assad and pro-Iranian groups, it is a recipe for a counterterrorism disaster in the long run, and one that largely benefits ISIS.Joyce Karam
In the immediate aftermath of the Northern Aleppo battles, ISIS is bound to benefit militarily as Russia deals heavy blows to common Assad and ISIS war rivals. These include battalions in the more moderate Free Syrian Army such as Jabha Shamiya, Faylak Sham, Soukour Jabal, and Nour Deen Zanki. The area targeted also has heavy presence for the more radical but anti-ISIS forces, such as Ahrar Al-Sham, and Al-Qaeda’s allied group Jabhat Nusra. Just as Russia was bombing the rebels this week, ISIS announced the surrender of some of the rebel fighters and families to its forces.