Freedom House / CC BY 2.0

Is Anyone Still Watching Syria's Civil War?

As media attention turns elsewhere, the Syrian civil war continues to rage as ISIS consolidates its control of the region.

By Ben Levin | July 18, 2014

Remember Syria? (Via Getty Images)

About the size of North Dakota, capital is Damascus, led by Bashar Al-Assad ... and home to the world's longest-running and deadliest civil war. (Via Euronews)

Yet between a crashed plane in Ukraine, Israeli tanks in Gaza, and the fall of northern Iraq to ISIS militants, the Western media has all but forgotten a conflict that has killed 170,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Via The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post)

But the fighting rolls on, and things aren't going well for the opponents of Sunni extremist group ISIS.  

ISIS has turned its focus from Iraq back to Syria, this time bringing with it U.S.-made weapons and equipment seized from a defeated Iraqi army. (Via Business Insider, The Washington Free Beacon)

And the weapons are working: Friday morning ISIS fighters captured a key gas field in central Syria, killing 90 government soldiers. (Via Al Arabiya

"The Sunni rebel group now has oil assets which could produce 3,500 barrels a day. Some monitors estimate the Islamic state controls a massive expanse of land about five times the size of Lebanon." (Via Al Jazeera)

ISIS is also ramping up its attacks on Kurdish territory in Syria. A Kurdish fighter speaking to BBC said: "It is very difficult. We are short on weapons and our rocket-propelled grenades are not effective against [Isis'] tanks." 

But the terrorist group hasn't lost its touch for low-tech intimidation. (Via Middle East Media Research Institute)

"The group, ISIS, is targeting mosques, shrines and churches. This is new video of the rebels taking sledgehammers — look at this — to tombs in Mosul." (Via Fox News)

And in the Syrian city of Raqqah, Syria Deeply reports an all-women ISIS squad is arresting women who aren't wearing hijabs.  

So what's the plan for ISIS? Experts speaking to the Al-Monitor speculate the militants will next try to displace the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated but comparatively moderate rebel group. 

Turkey is perhaps the only regional power left capable of challenging ISIS but has so far focused on protecting its own border.  

  TRENDING IN World NEWS
Syrian refugees at Turkish borderWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Chris McGrath

Violence Forces Thousands Of Syrian Refugees Toward Turkish Border

Policeman are placed in front of Cologne Central Station during Weiberfastnacht celebrations as part of the carnival season on February 4, 2016 in Cologne, Germany.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Volker Hartmann

Women Report Sexual Assaults At German Carnival, Including A TV Anchor

People watch a television broadcast reporting the North Korea's nuclear test at the Seoul Railway station on February 12, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Chung Sung-Jun

North Korea Has Moved Up Its Rocket Launch Despite Criticism

Rescue personnel search for survivors at the site of a buildling that collapsed during an earthquake in Taiwan.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Ashley Pon

Death Toll Rises In Magnitude-6.4 Taiwan Earthquake

The cast of "Spotlight"WATCHLIST
Open Road Films / "Spotlight"

The Boston Globe Applauded 'Spotlight,' And Now The Vatican Is, Too

French grocery storeWATCHLIST
christine592 / CC BY ND 2.0

France Now Won't Let Its Grocery Stores Throw Away Unsold Food

Stock image of a casket and flowersWATCHLIST
Don LaVange / CC BY SA 2.0

Woman Attended Her Own Funeral After Husband Tried To Have Her Killed

Julian AssangeWATCHLIST
David G Silvers / CC BY 2.0

UN Panel Says Julian Assange Should Be Allowed To Go Free

Julian AssangeWATCHLIST
Getty Images

UN Expected To Vote In WikiLeaks' Julian Assange's Favor

Daryush Valizadeh, who goes by Roosh V online, is organizing International Tribal Meetings on Feb. 6 at 165 locations worldwide.WATCHLIST
Bartek Kucharczyk

Petitions Worldwide Call For Barring Of Anti-Feminist American Blogger

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles (C) help paint a mural inside of Heavenly Hall Church as part of a two-day trip to the U.S. January 27, 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / David Maialetti-Pool

Prince Charles Makes Millions From His Watercolor Paintings

BearsWATCHLIST
Megan Coughlin / CC BY ND 2.0

New Deal Protects 85 Percent Of Canada's Massive Great Bear Rainforest

Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his weekly audience on November 26, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Franco Origlia

Pope Francis Will Make His Film Debut In A Family Adventure Movie

Eagle snatching drone out of the air.WATCHLIST
Politie

This Dutch Police Bird Can Take Drones Out Of The Sky

Health care workers in Brazil fumigate mosquitoesWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

The Zika Outbreak Is Officially An International Health Emergency

This photograph taken on January 24, 2016 and provided by the family of Afghan boy and Lionel Messi fan Murtaza Ahmadi, 5, shows him wearing a plastic bag jersey in Jaghori district of Ghazni province.WATCHLIST
STR/AFP/Getty Images

The Afghan Boy Who Made A Messi Jersey From Plastic May Meet His Hero

A frame from a video giving a look into Violier's restaurant.WATCHLIST
YouTube / Benoît Violier

Head Chef Of World's Top-Ranked Restaurant Dies In Apparent Suicide

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei awards Iranian naval commanders with the Fath medal.WATCHLIST
Twitter / @khamenei_ir

Iranian Commanders Receive 'Victory' Medals For Capturing US Sailors

Visitors gather at Jerusalem's Western Wall.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Spencer Platt

Israel Agrees To Let Men And Women Pray Together At The Western Wall

Sayyida Zeinab shrineWATCHLIST
Argooya

Blasts Kill Dozens Near Damascus As Syrian Peace Talks Continue

rmed French police patrol near the Boulevard de Barbes in the north of Paris on January 7, 2016 in Paris, France.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Thierry Chesnot

Thousands In France Are Protesting Against A Longer State Of Emergency

Oswaldo Cruz Hospital staff prepare to draw blood from baby Lorrany Emily da Silva (R), who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.WATCHLIST
Getty Images/ Mario Tama

Zika Virus Prompts Brazilian Petition For More Legal Abortion Access

To be fair, the vulture did have tracking equipment on it that could make it look like a spy if one didn't know better.WATCHLIST
Greg Schechter / CC BY 2.0

United Nations Had To Help Israel Get Its Vulture Back From Lebanon

U.S. Navy ShipWATCHLIST
U.S. Navy

Why Did The US Send A Ship To The South China Sea?

Malaysia CaptialWATCHLIST
muimpanas / CC BY ND 2.0

$4B Might Be Missing From Malaysian Economic Development Fund

An Israeli-developed drone.WATCHLIST
Israel Aerospace Industry

New Intelligence Leaks Reveal US, UK Spied On Israeli Drones

woman covers her face walking past health workers fumigating in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito which transmits the Zika virus on January 28, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

The Zika Virus Might Interrupt The 2016 Rio Olympics

Photo of the founder of Swap Shoes With Amputees.WATCHLIST
Jack Parker

Australian Man's Inspiring Service Provides Single Shoes For Amputees

Israeli mothers are seen taking part in a breast-feeding course on November 12, 2003 Moshav Udim, central Israel.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Uriel Sinai

Breastfeeding Could Save More Than 800,000 Children's Lives A Year

Disneyland Paris lit up at night.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Francois Durand

Man Carrying Guns, Quran And Ammo Arrested At Disneyland Paris Hotel