On Security

America's Other Anti-Islamic State Efforts

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Oct 15, 2015 | 08:00 GMT
Members of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) take part in the funeral of eight fighters on Nov. 8, 2015, in Derik, Syria.

Members of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) take part in the funeral of eight fighters on Nov. 8, 2015, in Derik, Syria. The United States has begun providing some weapons to groups like the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the YPJ.

(JOHN MOORE/Getty Images)

The now-defunct U.S. plan to train and equip rebel groups was only one of several programs initiated in Syria and was by no means the most important. Washington's efforts in the southern and northeastern parts of the country have proved far more successful, as has the not-so-covert CIA program to equip rebels battling the government of President Bashar al Assad in the northwest. The latter initiative supplied BGM-71 TOW missiles that greatly enhanced the rebel offensive in Idlib province. These advances against loyalist forces have heightened the threat to the Alawite heartland, which was one important factor prompting Russia to intervene in Syria....

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