In 2015, Assad lost big, while Kurds swept victory

Published December 31st, 2015 - 10:46 GMT
Ahead of planned talks between the Syrian government and approved opposition groups, a look at what 2015 looked like on the ground in Syria and Iraq. (AFP/File)
Ahead of planned talks between the Syrian government and approved opposition groups, a look at what 2015 looked like on the ground in Syria and Iraq. (AFP/File)

In 2015, victories and defeats among various groups on the battlefield meant drastic reshaping and shifting control in Syria and Iraq. 

Now world powers and the UN are gearing up for the first round of negotiations between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and approved opposition factions. These peace talks will be tabled by the UN and likely significantly swayed by the US and Russia, among others. How that transfers to the ground will theoretically help define how things play out in 2016.

That's why ahead of that deadline, it's interesting to see how much things have shifted from the beginning of this year. 

According to data by US-based conflict analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, who compared territory control in Jan. with the same in Dec., the Syrian government suffered the most loss—controlling almost 12,000 square miles in Syria by Dec., down 16 percent since the beginning of the year. 

Daesh’s (ISIS) 2015 moves were mixed—they suffered losses across northern Iraq and Syria but gained territory in areas further south like Palmyra. The militant group now controls about 30,000 square miles across Syria and Iraq, down 14 percent since January. 

The Syrian Kurds, meanwhile, control 186 percent more territory than they did this at the start of the year—with swaths stretching 6,100 square miles along Syria’s border with Turkey.

See the full results below, via Twitter.

 


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