Business Insider quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on the need for the US military to focus on civilian protection in order to effectively combat ISIS in Syria:
Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his forces regularly drop barrel bombs on civilians and commit atrocities against Sunnis, which is a boon to the Islamic State’s (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh) recruitment strategy. ISIS uses the Syrian regime’s violence to convince Sunnis that ISIS is the only group that will protect them.
“This brings you full-circle to the whole question of: What is your strategy? If your objective is to degrade and ultimately destroy [ISIS], then you need to have a strategy that doesn’t produce the opposite effect,” Fred Hof, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former special adviser for transition in Syria under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Business Insider. “It is the lack of civilian protection that is just fattening the political wallet of ISIS.”