MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

The United States committed to combating and reducing the ISIL threat in 2014. In concert with European and Middle Eastern allies, the U.S. supported regional friends with a crippling campaign of airstrikes directed against ISIL. The advent of Russian intervention, however, complicated things. In 2015, Bashar al-Assad’s regime requested Russian assistance in combating Islamic extremists and rebel factions alike. Though ISIL has been significantly reduced since 2014, the U.S. and Russia maintain daily military operations in Syria. Global concerns mounted in February 2018 when pro-government forces, backed by Russian mercenary squads, attacked U.S. forces and Syrian allies.