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November 8, 2018

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Fight Against Last Vestige of ISIS in Syria Stalls, to Dismay of U.S.

Booby traps, land mines and a militant counterstrike during a fierce sandstorm after the campaign began in September have knocked the coalition back on its heels.

And last week, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led militia that is fighting the Islamic State with American help, suspended operations after Kurdish positions farther north were shelled by Turkey — not far from United States advisers.

American diplomats and generals rushed to ease tensions with the Turks, who consider Kurdish fighters terrorists despite their partnership with the United States.

But the episode underscores the shifting nature of the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, a still-potent threat as it pivots from its battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria to directing guerrilla insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond.

Trump made remarkable progress against ISIS almost from the moment he was sworn in, but the terror group was given ample opportunity to grow and dig in under Obama.