Western policy in Syria suffers from the halting problem. It is interminable. There is simply no way that they will be able to put an end to the conflict on their terms.
The IS is something without much of a definition. What is it anyway? Who is part of it? What if they renamed themselves? Would it still be the IS? The IS is obviously more a phenomenon than an organization.
To the extent that the IS is just an agenda, and not really a set of people, a policy geared at eliminating some of these people, does not particularly help. It is not possible to eliminate all of them, because they are not countable.
Furthermore, they seem to view being eliminated as martyrdom. Attempts to kill them, only seem to encourage them. If need be, other people would just resuscitate the IS agenda. They glorify suicidal attitudes to the conflict. You cannot scare them off with the prospect of dying because they simply desire to die for their cause. Your own soldiers don’t. So, that is a problem.
Destroying an idea by bombing it from the air, is not a realistic goal. It would rather be a question of attacking the strength of the idea itself. I do not see how the West can do that. IS supporters do not believe what the West is telling them; which is quite understandable. We have decades of racist rhetoric along with never-ending islamophobe propaganda to thank for that. If you were them, would you believe it?
Furthermore, atheism and feminism are not necessarily attractive ideologies. I don’t like them either.
I was born in Africa of European father and African mother (both Christians). Therefore, as a child, I have heard my own share of “Go back to your own country”. It came from the same racist crowd which today slings around all that ugly, Islamophobe rhetoric. They were going to put me too on the train to Auschwitz. What the racist demographic in Europe forgets, is that these Muslims are not Jews, and that when push comes to shove, it looks like it will work out exactly the other way around. I have a totally different opinion about the Muslims in Europe than them. I find them useful.
Since I was born into the ongoing bankruptcy of Christianity, I was meant to be an unwilling Christian. So, that is what I am. I will not resist the will of God. However, that does not mean that I would not like Islamic theology. It makes sense!
The conflict in Syria has pretty much the same characteristics as the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan. It has the propensity to keep going on forever, until the West decides to give up. So, they could as well give up right away.