The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Da’ish, once controlled large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. This Sunni Islamic terrorist organization has sought to establish a worldwide caliphate governed under strict Sharia law. As it conquered land, it enslaved women and children and killed the men as it enforced its violent vision upon the world.
The United States, Iraq, Syria, Russia, Turkey, and the Kurdish and Yazidi peoples have been battling against ISIS for years. Now, after years of fighting, it has now been reduced to holding onto only approximately 1.5 square miles in Syrian territory and seems ready to lose control of even that. The end of ISIS’ territorial claims seems to be within reach, but the end of ISIS itself has not yet arrived.
Indeed, ISIS-affiliated groups are still spread throughout the world, still intent on establishing an Islamic caliphate. ISIS fighters also still remain in Iraq and Syria and will probably shift from a strategy of trying to gain territory to one of insurgency. The shelling and bombing by the U.S. and others will likely stop as the fight shifts to counter-insurgency raids. How long will this continue? As long as the stifling, soul-crushing political and religious ideology of ISIS and related groups remain appealing to some people.