Syrian War Daily – 2nd of September 2017

Hello and welcome to the 200th instalment of the SWD.

Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:

Raqqa:

The SDF and ISIS clashed early on the morning as the terrorist organisation forces launched a counter-attack towards the SDF forces stationed in Al-Moroor neighbourhood. The counterattack was successfully repelled by SDF. Islamic State sources claimed 18 SDF soldiers were killed in Al-Haramiyyah neighbourhood, and another 10 YPG soldiers were killed in the neighbourhood of Al Moroor.

The French Republic conducted 11 airstrikes in Syria, most of them targeted ISIS forces in Raqqa city.

Aleppo:

Several Syrian Arab Army soldiers allegedly defected to FSA Euphrates Shield forces, according to pro-opposition sources. Although, no visual proves were uploaded. On the ES forces side, 20 of its soldiers surrendered to SDF in Shahba region today.

Government forces shelled the area of Al-Zahraa neighbourhood, and Lirmon and Kafr Hamra area located to the northwestern side of Aleppo city. SAA forces targeted the towns of Tal Bajir and Kafr Karif in south Aleppo, too.

Russian troops movement has been detected today around the Mare area in north Aleppo governorate.

Hama:

The Islamic State launched a night counter-attack on SAA positions inside Uqayribat city in central Syria. The night attack included the use of women and children for suicide bomb attacks against the SAA “ISIS Hunters” unit. Apparently, the counter attack managed to capture some points previously captured by government forces. Later on today, ISIS has used one or two SVBIEDS on the outskirts of Uqayribat which targeted a convoy. The attack claimed more than 10 SAA soldiers, several tanks and armoured vehicles destroyed, according to ISIS sources.On the one hand, the Islamic State claims to have killed 7 Russian soldiers in Uqayribat frontline and to have recaptured the city. On the other hand, pro-government sources claim that the Russian Ministry of Defence confirms Uqayribat is still under SAA control and that SAA forces are clearing the last pockets of ISIS resistance.

Earlier this morning, SAA targeted Soha, Hamada Amar, Abu Hanaya, Abu Hubaylat and Umm Mil in Salamiyah countryside. Later on today, ISIS has used one or two SVBIEDS on the outskirts of Uqayribat which targeted a convoy. The attack claimed more than 10 SAA soldiers, several tanks and armoured vehicles destroyed, according to ISIS sources.

The situation in Uqayribat area and surrounding areas is unknown as both pro-government and pro-ISIS sources are reporting contradictory reports and information. On the one hand, the Islamic State claims to have killed 7 Russian soldiers in Uqayribat frontline and to have recaptured the city. On the other hand, pro-government sources claim that the Russian Ministry of Defence confirms Uqayribat is still under SAA control and that SAA forces are clearing the last pockets of ISIS resistance. As there are no clear reports on whom is controlling Uqayribat, the information should be considered highly inaccurate.

 

Unclear military situation in central Syria pocket as of 2nd September 2017 – via @CivilWarMap

 

 

Military developments since the early stages of the offensive to retake central Syria from the Islamic State by SAA forces – via @O_Rich_

 

Damascus:

Government forces shelled with artillery the areas of Zemlka, Jobar and Ayn Tarma. Nine were injured in Zemlka, while a ground assault took place in Jobar and Ayn Tarma after shelling stopped. The results of the offensive are unknown, most likely failed or repelled.

Government forces and allies recaptured the border posts 169 and 170 on the Jordanian border after clashing with opposition forces. The situation there remains unclear, too.

Deir ez-Zor:

The Tiger Forces, an SAA elite unit, continued its advance towards the city of Deir ez-Zor, which is 26,6km away from the current front lines. SAA forces are close enough to the city so government artillery can be heard from Deir ez-Zor city. Less than 30 km (some reports reduce the distance to 25km, although these are not confirmed) separate the four-year long besieged city and government forces on the ground. The Syrian Arab Army took control of the strategic mountain of Al-Bahri and some of the points located east of the mountain. Government forces also captured Rujm al-Hajjanah village and Jabal Safiya, west Deir ez-Zor governorate.

 

Military situation of SAA Tiger Forces, which are 30-25km from reaching Deir ez-Zor city as of 2nd September 2017 – via @GeromanAT

 

SAA forces are advancing on two different fronts, the Tiger Forces are advancing towards Shilah from its positions in Jabal Bishri, while the regular SAA forces advance towards Kabbajb. Some Russian Special Operations Forces have been spotted participating in different battles on the Homs-Deir ez-Zor governorate border.

 

The two main offensive pushes by SAA units in west Deir ez-Zor governorate as of 2nd September 2017 – via @EmmanuelGMay

 

The Islamic State militants have two options if the Syrian Arab Army reaches Deir ez-Zor city before taking the area west of the Euphrates river. The first option, to keep their positions and end up encircled between the river and SAA in a new pocket between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor governorates; Secondly, to retreat south of Deir ez-Zor and by doing so, give the area to SAA forces. The second option would be the best outcome for both sides as it would avoid battle. Although, it would be very risky for ISIS as the area east of Bishri mountain is a plain desert. Thus, a convoy retreating in that area is the perfect target for Russian and Coalition air forces.

With regards to the evacuated ISIS militants from west Qalamun, at least 100 militants have reached Deir ez-Zor, while another considerable part of the convoy, apparently 200 people, has been stuck in the SAA-ISIS front lines close to Deir ez-Zor. According to pro-Hezbollah media, US jets stopped the convoy by threatening to destroy it. Although, a last-minute US-led coalition communication said the coalition will not target the convoy carrying ISIS family members as it contains unarmed civilians.

Some sources reported that unknown persons tore down a recruitment poster and burned down an ISIS media office inside ISIS-held Deir ez-Zor city.

CJTF-OIR:

On the 1st of September 2017, CJTF-OIR has conducted 22 strikes in Syria. CJTF-OIR‘s main focus in Syria is Raqqa region where they did 17 strikes supporting SDF‘s operations against IS destroying 16 fighting positions, three logistics nodes, two command and control nodes, and a VBIED.

Another area where five strikes occurred is Deir ez-Zor destroying 11 oil stills, four vehicles, an ISIS-held building, a bulldozer, a fuel tank, and an artillery system. The full report on CJTF-OIR strikes conducted in both Syria & Iraq can be found here.

Other:

Intellectual credited properly used may vary from an edition to edition.

Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below, constructive criticism is welcomed.

For those of you interested, you can follow me on my personal, controversial twitter @alextorrell where I constantly tweet about different issues and conflicts

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