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After billions of dollars spent and more than 10,000 extremist fighters killed, ISIS is fundamentally no weaker than it was when the U.S.-led bombing campaign began a year ago, American intelligence agencies have concluded. The military campaign has prevented Iraq's collapse and put ISIS under increasing pressure in northern Syria, particularly squeezing its self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa. But intelligence analysts see the overall situation as a strategic stalemate: ISIS remains a well-funded extremist army able to replenish its ranks with foreign militants as quickly as the U.S. can eliminate them. Under the Obama administration's campaign of bombing and training, which prohibits American troops from accompanying fighters into combat or directing airstrikes from the ground, it could take a decade to drive ISIS from its safe havens, analysts say.American intelligence officials and other experts say that in the big picture, ISIS is hanging tough.American-led efforts to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS have produced a grand total of 60 vetted fighters, and this group has already been rocked by the reported kidnapping of its commander by the Nusra Front, another Al-Qaeda-linked group that has been targeted by the U.S.-led coalition.The group has adjusted its tactics to thwart a U.S. bombing campaign that tries to avoid civilian casualties, officials say.
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