In the eastern Euphrates region, ISIS is on the verge of defeat thanks to the efforts of the SDF in coordination with the US-led International Coalition.
One of the last pockets of ISIS territory in Syria is located on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River in the Deir ez-Zour Province. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been pushing forward against the terrorist group for weeks and have been making gains throughout.
The military forces involved under the umbrella of the SDF include the Deir Ez-Zour Military Brigades, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).
“There are some problems caused by mines, but our morale is high and we will take revenge of ISIS militants who killed our children, displaced our women, and committed crimes in Deir Ez-Zour, al-Hasakah, Qamishli, Kobanî and other areas. Our morale is high and all the forces are united”, said one fighter for the YPG.
The most recent gains were reported near the villages of Safaqinah and Mozan. Heavy fighting has also been reported at the Hajin front where the SDF reportedly killed around a dozen IS militants.
The SDF is attempting to launch attacks of ISIS positions without causing civilian casualties. They are especially cautious since the terrorist group has been prone to using civilians as human shields, a tactic the terrorist group has employed in various battles both in Syria and Iraq. The SDF estimates that some 2,500 to 3,000 militants, most of whom are foreigners, remain in the pocket.
The campaign to uproot ISIS from Deir ez-Zour is commonly known as the Jazeera Campaign, which was launched in 2017 and has been supported by the US-led International Coalition. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have also at times cooperated since the ISIS presence exists near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The territories to the immediate west of the ISIS pocket are controlled by the Syrian regime, whose army has played a role in anti-ISIS operations, although this has recently been limited.