It's expected that it will be only a matter of days or weeks before ISIS will be defeated in both of its main strongholds, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. What will that mean for the Syrian conflict? It's well to remember how the Syrian war came about. The civil war in Syria was caused by president Bashar al-Assad when he unleashed his army and air force against peaceful protesters in 2011. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. He dropped barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous and chemical weapons onto innocent Sunni women and children, he's targeted bombs on schools and hospitals, and he's used Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. He considers all Sunni Muslims to be cockroaches to be exterminated. Atlantic Council
Thousands of young Sunni jihadists from 86 countries around the world traveled to Syria to fight al-Assad, and they formed ISIS. At the same time, local Syrian Sunni fighters opposed to al-Assad formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front, while Kurdish fighters joined Arabs and formed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Al-Assad has driven millions of Syrians out of their homes, into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Europe. Other forces that have entered the war include Americans, Turks, Russians, Iranians, and Hezbollah.
All of these groups have very different objectives, but they were unified by their opposition to ISIS. With the defeat of ISIS, they have no one left to fight but each other. In particular, the Syrian people against whom Bashar al-Assad has committed years of torture and atrocities will never agree to return to the way things were before 2011.
As regular readers know, we predict that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran.
The conflict in Syria is very far from ended. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the defeat of ISIS is not the beginning of the end, but it may be the end of the beginning.... Straits Times and Hurriyet (Ankara)