There is a new push against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria and Iraq. And it seems to be a coordinated one even though America’s partners on the ground in both countries – the Kurds, are not allies.
In announced the start of an offensive that it hopes will end ISIL’s presence in the northeastern corner of the country. It will try to push ISIL from the southern countryside of the northeastern province of Hassakeh.
Right across the border in Iraq, the Iraqi Kurdish force – the Peshmerga – along with thousands of Yazidi fighters, have been massing in the northwest for an offensive to retake Sinjar, which ISIL captured over a year ago. Sinjar lies along a main highway linking ISIL strongholds: the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa.
The land offensive on both sides of the border aims to interrupt ISIL supply lines, retake territory and put pressure on the group. Losing Sinjar would make it more difficult for ISIL to resupply Mosul. And the assault in Hassakeh will be a step toward isolating ISIL in Raqqa.