From the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, it was clear that the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was an intractable battle.
At the outset, the Syrian government launched air strikes to prop up a failed state under the control of the group.
This was a move designed to weaken the IS fighters, and to force them to withdraw from the city of Palmyra.
But as IS fighters fled, the government began to shift tactics, and began targeting the group in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.
This strategy has since been dubbed the “caliphate” or “Islamic State” and has been seen as a major achievement in terms of weakening the group’s power.
However, in the long term, this strategy has proved unsustainable.
Since its formation, the IS group has lost the territory it once controlled in the north of Syria and the strategically important city of Aleppo, both of which it had previously held.
In the meantime, its territory in the east of Syria has been largely abandoned by the Syrian regime, and the group has been pushed back across the border into Turkey.
As a result, the Islamic state has been forced to consolidate its presence in the province of Idlib.
The US has also become increasingly frustrated by the group, as it has sought to prevent it from taking over the Syrian capital Damascus.
In response, Washington has deployed forces and air strikes against the group to push back the group from Syria and elsewhere in the region.
In May, for instance, the US began a major offensive in the Syrian province around the city Of Raqqa.
The operation is now expected to last until at least December, as the US hopes to prevent the group establishing a stronghold in the country.
However this will be far from easy, as there is no reliable or effective way of controlling the area.
Moreover, the group is well aware that any victory it has over the US in Raqqa will be short-lived, as most of its remaining fighters will move on to Syria to fight in the larger conflict in the south of the country, where the Syrian army is currently engaged in a fierce battle against the IS.
Meanwhile, the Kurds of the Kobani canton have continued to make gains against IS, and their fighters have been backed up by the Turkish air force.
While the Kurds have managed to take more territory than the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has in the past, this victory does not necessarily translate into the group losing its territorial control.
On the contrary, the SAA is now being supported by a coalition of Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen militias.
In an effort to counter the IS threat in Syria, Turkey is currently conducting a large-scale operation in the northwest of the Euphrates River.
The campaign is targeting the IS-held villages of Azaz and Tal Abyad, and is expected to continue until the end of the year.
This operation will focus on the villages of Al-Mashrouq, Al-Bab, Al-‘Aqsa and Tal Qaraqiya, and aim to encircle the IS stronghold of Al Qamishli.
The Turkish military has been trying to consolidate control of these villages as well, and has also begun a large scale operation against the Kurdish YPG militia in the area around the Turkish border.
While this operation will eventually fail, Turkey hopes to have secured some form of territorial control over the area by the end