It is not a great time to be an ISIL fighter.
Because of the intensified efforts of the counter-ISIL coalition, ISIL (a.k.a. Da’esh) fighters are facing pay cuts, a shortage of manpower, a decrease in perks -- like using vehicles for personal use – and, more importantly, a shortage of medical expertise, as doctors reportedly flee ISIL-held territory .
Now they face a new worry: President Barack Obama approved additional support for Iraqi forces fighting ISIL. On April 25, President Obama also announced increased support for local forces fighting in Syria:
“A small number of American Special Operations Forces are already on the ground in Syria, and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas. So given the success, I’ve approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including Special Forces, to keep up this momentum.”
The additional U.S. forces will not be leading the fight on the ground. Instead, they will be assisting and advising indigenous counter-ISIL fighters, including Kurdish, Arab, and other Syrian forces, said State Department Spokesperson John Kirby:
“Our goal is to provide advice and assistance to all those who can effectively go after Daesh.”
At a press briefing, U.S. Air Force Major General Peter Gersten, the U.S.-led coalition’s deputy commander for operations and intelligence, said that ISIL’s morale is “beginning to deteriorate at a fairly increasing rate,” adding that fighters have been “trying to defect…at times, claiming to be refugees and, even disguising themselves as women. That’s the kind of cowardice we’re dealing with.”
Major General Gersten emphasized, however, that “this enemy is a persistent cancer…If left unchecked, it will continue to metastasize and significantly infect the world.” Right now, he said, “We’ve got them in a position…that they cannot maneuver on the battle space in an effective way… But,” he added, “we also must understand that this fight requires both patience and time.”