The Conflict with ISIS:
June 2014–January 2020

Mason W. Watson

  • U.S. Army Campaigns in Iraq
  • CMH Pub 78-2, Paper
  • 2021, 87 pages, illustrations, maps, further readings
  • GPO S/N: Not Yet Available for Purchase

In The Conflict with ISIS: Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, June 2014–January 2020, Mason W. Watson chronicles how a U.S.-led coalition fought against the Islamic State (ISIS)—a terrorist organization that, at its height, controlled a span of territory in Iraq and Syria the size of Kentucky. A campaign of targeted airstrikes, beginning in August 2014, slowed ISIS’s offensive momentum and gave U.S. military advisers a chance to help rebuild the shattered Iraqi Security Forces. With coalition assistance, the Iraqis then liberated their country in a series of major operations that culminated in the battle for Mosul (2016–2017), one of the largest urban battles in recent history. Watson’s narrative further describes how U.S. Army conventional and special operations forces enabled local partners, including the Syrian Democratic Forces, to retake ISIS-held areas of eastern Syria. By January 2020, Iraqi and Syrian forces—supported by U.S. airpower, armed with U.S. equipment, and trained and assisted by U.S. military advisers—had defeated ISIS on the battlefield and ended its pretentions to statehood.