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Don’t believe the hype, Isis has not yet been defeated – here’s why

4 15 10
23.03.2019

After all the headlines about the supposed defeat of Isis, anyone who doesn’t believe a word of it may seem a bit of a spoilsport. But whenever I read that victory has been declared – whether it be of the Bush ‘mission accomplished’ variety or the ‘last Isis stronghold about to fall’ fantasy – I draw in my breath. Because you can make a safe bet that it’s not true.

Not just because the fighting around Baghouz is, in fact, still continuing outside the wrecked town. But because there are plenty of Isis fighters still under arms and ready to fight in the Syrian province of Idlib, along with their Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-Nusrah-al-Qaeda comrades – almost surrounded by Syrian government troops but with a narrow corridor in which they could escape to Turkey. Always supposing that Sultan Erdogan will let them. There are Russian troop outposts inside these Islamist front lines, along with Turkish military forces, but the tentative ceasefire which held for five months has become a lot more tenuous in the past few weeks.

Maybe it’s a failure of our institutional memory – or it’s just plain simpler to go along with the simplest story – but Idlib has for three years been the dumping ground of all Syria’s Islamist enemies, or at least the antagonists who didn’t surrender when they fled........

© Independent