From: Inside Story

Airstrikes on Syria: Help or hindrance?

ISIL fighters defy coalition air campaign while government forces intensify attacks on opposition rebels.

The war in Syria may have started as an uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad but events are taking on a more dangerous and demanding dimension.

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, keep advancing despite a coalition air campaign against them.

The alliance brings together the US, Western partners and Arab nations. US president Barack Obama’s stated goal is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIL, something he concedes could take years.

But it is not the sole objective shared by countries like Turkey, while rebel forces in Syria say coalition air strikes are not doing enough to help their cause.

The group Harakat Hazm, which received the first deliveries of US-made anti-tank weapons this year, has issued a statement that calls the American-led effort “a sign of failure whose devastation will spread to the whole region”.

Syrian government forces have been largely unaffected by the coalition air campaign, even intensifying their own air raids, and advancing on rebel-held areas outside Syria’s largest city of Aleppo.

So, has the fight against ISIL become the main priority in Syria? And where does the world stand on dealing with Bashar al-Assad?

Presenter:  Fauziah Ibrahim


Joseph Kechichian – an author, and senior writer at the Gulf News.

Marwan Kabalan – a Syrian academic and writer, and associate political analyst at the Doha Institute.

Haitham al Sibahi – a Syrian activist, and member of the Syrian Social Club – a pro-government group advocating reform.