Report ➠ Islamic State Now Controls Over 50% Of Syria
While Obama says he “doesn’t think we’re losing” to ISIS.
BEIRUT, May 21 (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters tightened their grip on the historic city of Palmyra in Syria, days after capturing a provincial capital in neighboring Iraq, suggesting the growing momentum of the group which a monitor says now holds half of Syrian territory.
The twin successes pile pressure not just on Damascus and Baghdad, but also throw doubt on U.S. strategy to rely almost exclusively on air strikes to defeat Islamic State.
Extending its reach in the region, fighters loyal to the Sunni Muslim group have also consolidated their grip on the Libyan city of Sirte, hometown of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the al Qaeda offshoot now controls more than half of Syrian territory following more than four years of conflict which grew out of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The ultra hardline group has destroyed antiquities and monuments in Iraq and there are fears it might now devastate Palmyra, home to renowned Roman-era ruins including well-preserved temples, colonnades and a theater.