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The Legacy of ISIS and the Need for Peace in Syria

May 3, 2019

The once vast caliphate of the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, is no more. On March 23, the last scrap of ISIS territory fell to a US-backed coalition. But while the state of ISIS is gone, the terrorist organization still survives in the shadows and its memory is a stark reminder of the dangers of political unrest and extremism, and a warning for how Syria needs to proceed. What ISIS Once Was ISIS grew out of Al-Qaeda in 2006 and, like other terrorist cells in the Middle East, it was initially a dangerous organization, but one whose territorial aspirations, if any, seemed like a pipe dream. However, the Syrian Civil War was the perfect incubator for ISIS to establish itself as an actual state. Taking advantage of the sheer domestic unrest in Syria, and then Iraq, ISIS declared itself a caliphate in 2014. At its height in 2015, ISIS, from its capital at Raqqa, controlled nearly half of Syria and a significant part of northern Iraq, including the regional capital of Mosul. At the same time, ISIS has unleashed and inspired over 140 terrorist attacks across the length of…

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