Islamic State Faces Possible Territorial Elimination

DEIR EZ-ZOR GOVERNORATE (JANUARY 20, 2019) – Following a long stream of setbacks on the Syrian Democratic Forces hand, the SDF reverses all Islamic State gains and captures new areas. 

Following a series of setbacks made by Islamic State (IS) fighters against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the SDF along with coalition-forces have reset aforementioned gains in the Hajin-based pocket.

Islamic State gained the upper hand earlier due to weather conditions such as the desert storm. The desert storm proved advantageous for IS and at a contrast to the SDF as they lacked proper and efficient aerial support from US-led coalition aircraft. As a result, airstrikes were halted and IS was able to pursue its large missions more freely with the lack of constraint.

With the desert storm calming and IS resources being consistently depleted without sufficient resupply, SDF forces relaunch their attempts in a counter-operation which proves to be successful. Hajin and many more towns as well as villages along the Euphrates are captured in a string of defeats against Islamic State. Islamic State now controls approximately 5 villages.

Around 2500 civilians left Baghuz Fawqani this afternoon. This is the largest single exodus of civilians since the SDF counter-operation began. Reportedly some prisoners are among the people leaving. Increasing, men and young boys are being received into SDF hands, suggesting IS also fleeing.

With the decline of IS territorial influence and control in Syria, IS missions attempt to disregard such claims. A suicide bombing on January 16 in Manbij (Under multiple Kurdish factions) left 4 US Servicemen killed and approximately 5 more injured (Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman). With IS demonstrating the ability to attack extremely distant places and kill important figures, they exemplify their relativity regardless of their recent public dissolution.

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