Islamic State Continues to Make Significant Advances In Deir-Ez-Zor
DEIR EZ-ZOR GOVERNORATE (NOVEMBER 25, 2018) – Islamic State (IS) continues to reverse all gains within the past year established by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Hajin pocket area over the course of the past month.
After weeks of clashes between Islamic State (IS) militants and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along the Hajin pocket frontlines, IS managed to breakthrough and capture the town of Bahrah. SDF was able to counterattack, but the town is still largely contested at the moment. IS also recently captured the South Kashmah oil field, which covers a huge barren desert in Eastern Syria along the border of Iraq. This position allows IS to strategically position itself to launch attacks upwards into other oil fields or into Iraq, of which have repelled by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
The SDF/PKK joint combination units over the past 5 days have been fleeing the Arab-dominated areas east of Hajin, leaving several Arab tribes to assert control of the town with its own fighters. Although posing a resistance, IS has the upper hand against a very inexperienced group of fighters. Among products of the raids by IS include dozens of captured unit fighters, as well as equipment and guns left behind the SDF.
In addition, in a special operation process launched by SDF and its US allies, the SDF was able to capture Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s (Current IS Leader) second in command man in Deir ez-Zor alive. Mass sums of money, gold bars, and cell phones were found with him.
Although it appears that IS is gaining a ledge over the SDF, IS in a net result is straining its resources in this time frame. IS cannot flourish and expand under a full quarantine unless if militants manage to capture equipment and ammo depots, which has only been partially successful. Developments continue underway in the governorate.