A man holds up a knife as he rides on the back of a motorcycle touring the streets of Tabqa city with others in celebration after ISIS militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city, August 24, 2014.

Syria is now home to the largest and most capable concentration of Sunni jihadist militants anywhere in the world, and it will be for a long time to come. Whatever progress the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) makes in the coming months, the sheer chaos and destruction resulting from five years of conflict ensure that instability will reign supreme in Syria for years to come. And here, jihadists have the most to gain.

In March 2011, Syrian men, women, and children took to the streets, holding hands and chanting about the need for political

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