The Pentagon has denied that the US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) is in disarray after a series of setbacks as the war known as Operation Inherent Resolve stretches into its fourth month.

“I don’t believe that we view current events as a major setback to the goals that we’ve set with respect to training and equipping the moderate opposition” in Syria, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman.

Kirby’s remarks came days after an al-Qaida-aligned faction routed one of the Syrian resistance groups on which the US has been depending to anchor an anti-Isis proxy force. The Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, appears now to be allying with Isis, an indication that the Islamist extremist group’s fortunes are rising.

“Obviously, these kinds of developments are certainly not helpful to the security situation writ large, but we don’t view it as a major setback or a major blow to our ultimate objectives,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

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