Situation in the Syrian Desert – May 7th, 2018

With recent battles in Eastern Ghouta and southern Damascus, attention on the Syrian Badiyah (Desert) has fallen off over the past few months. However, ISIS still remains there in three pockets: the northern pocket along the Iraqi border, the central pocket along the eastern bank of the Euphrates, and the southern pocket in the barren desert south of Deir Ezzor. Though it is not the focus of most watching the Syrian conflict now, ISIS still has several thousand fighters in these areas, mostly concentrated in the central pocket.

However, this lack of attention may end soon: the US-backed SDF recently restarted its Jazirah Storm offensive to capture ISIS’ last strongholds near the Iraqi border, and pro-government forces have also began movement south of Deir Ezzor to clean up the ISIS presence there. According to a pro-government source, the Palestinian militia Liwa al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigade) captured the desert village of Faydat Umm Muwaynah. This site is directly south of Deir Ezzor city, and its capture significantly reduces the size of the southern ISIS pocket in the desert.

If pro-government forces can succeed in seizing control of the southern pocket, and the SDF takes the central and northern pockets, then ISIS will have lost all its territory in Syria with the exception of the south Damascus pocket and the Yarmouk pocket.

Syrian Desert 2

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