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The rise of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria has justified President Bashar Assad's narrative that his regime is engaged in a "war against terror" – terror that, ironically, his own intelligence services carefully nurtured in first decade of the century and even after the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in 2011 .However, the debate as to whether Assad has facilitated the rise terrorism is no longer as relevant as the regime has tried to make a slow comeback on the international scene. Balanche's argument was that four years after the beginning of the Syria revolution, Assad has been – rightly or wrongly – able to offer some sort of guarantee against extremist groups, namely the Al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front and ISIS, which have continued to gain in influence. According to Balanche, dealing with the regime is unavoidable because it dominates the areas of Syria, the so-called "useful Syria," where 65 percent of the population resides.Figures released in early December by Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center (JTIC) show that of 982 counterterrorism operations led by regime forces for the year up through Nov. 21, just 6 percent were directly targeted ISIS.Assad may be able to survive but in no way will he win the war.
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