The fight against Daesh in Iraq caused many to flee in 2017. Although the group was destroyed, so were many Sunni areas of the country. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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Will 2018 dampen the fires that rage across the Middle East?The fight against Daesh (ISIS) is mostly over, and the war in Syria may finally be winding down.Syria's President Bashar Assad has been embattled since war erupted in his country almost seven years ago, when his demise was widely predicted in the early going. But it looks like he'll survive, for now, as the war appears to draw to a close.Major military operations have tapered off, with Assad in control of key areas and the war against Daesh mostly concluded with the recapture of the cities it controlled. Syrian Kurds in the north hold nearly 25 percent of the country; Turkey, Russia, the U.S., Iran and Lebanese factions all maintain bases they are likely to keep for now.Backed by Russia and Iran, it may seem like Assad has won the war: Too many of his frustrated opponents turned to militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh for the United States and the West to jump in and risk conflict with Russia.The war against Daesh has been declared over after four years of savagery.While 2.7 million Iraqis have returned to lands retaken from Daesh, more than 3 million others cannot – including some 600,000 from Mosul.The Syria war is, to a degree, a proxy fight between the two regional powers, with Riyadh supporting many of the rebels and Tehran supporting Assad.
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