As the West dithers about how to respond to the plight of Christians and Yazidis fleeing fundamentalist gunmen, the fighters of Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, are making important gains hundreds of miles away in Syria.
In the last two days they have taken the towns of Turkmen Bareh and Akhtarin 30 miles from Aleppo, enabling them to take over the strategically valuable country on the way to the Turkish border. The Isis offensive started on Tuesday, reinforcing the position of the movement as the dominant force in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Isis already controls one-third of Syria.
Western policy on how to deal with Isis remains contradictory and self-defeating. In Iraq, the West supports the government in Baghdad and its counterparts in the quasi-independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in their battle to stop Isis. But in Syria Western policy is to weaken and displace Assad, though his government is the only force in Syria capable of battling Isis successfully.