Terrorism study says Assad and Isis are ignoring each other

Jane's, rivals but both fighting against moderate groups

12 December, 15:11

    Syrian president Bashar el Assad (R) and the Islamic State (Isis) leader al Baghadi (L) Syrian president Bashar el Assad (R) and the Islamic State (Isis) leader al Baghadi (L)

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT - The Syrian regime led by president Bashar el Assad and the Islamic State (Isis) are formally rivals but they have been ignoring each other on the battlefield and both have focused attacks on militias belonging to the Syrian opposition. It's the outcome of a study carried out by the British Jane's terrorism study group (Ihs) which analysed attacks by loyalist forces as well as Isis-related ones in Syria from the beginning of the year up to November. According to Jane's data only 6% of military operations in Damascus were carried out against the Islamic State while the remaining 94% targeted anti-regime forces. At the same time, according to a press report first broadcast by Nbc and later picked up by the pan-Arab press, only 13% of Isis attacks in Syria have targeted loyalist forces while the remaining 87% concentrated military efforts against local rebel opposition groups. "These numbers - states Jane's lead editor Matthew Henman - indicate that Isis and Assad's loyalist forces have adopted the clever strategy of ignoring each other and concentrate their attacks on moderate opposition groups". According to Henman, "Assad is trying to downplay the Syrian revolution narrative and instead portray it as an Islamist insurgency against his government. This way, he can crack down on it with the indirect support of the West". On the other hand Isis "is looking to engineer a scenario where it is just them against Assad. Therefore, right now the group's focus in on marginalising moderate groups to the point where these groups' fighters are 'asked' to join the Islamic State". (ANSAmed).

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