According to an SDF official, the number of ISIS militants killed since 10 September 2018 has risen to 1650, while 11,350 people have fled the ISIS-held pocket since December 2018.
Despite the claims of US President Donald Trump that ISIS has been defeated in Syria, a few ISIS enclaves remain in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province.
Fierce battles have been ongoing and casualties incurred as a result of the operations launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on ISIS-held villages in the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
Recent clashes between ISIS and the SDF have led to the killing of dozens of ISIS militants in addition to the liberation of the village of al-Shaafah. According to SDF officials, the number of ISIS militants who have been killed since September 2018 has now risen to 1650 militants.
The liberation of these areas has allowed many civilians to escape from ISIS-held villages, such as a recent group of 250 people, the majority of whom were women and children, and head towards liberated areas in Deir ez-Zour’s eastern countryside. According to the most recent estimates, over 11,350 citizens have escaped ISIS as of December 2018.
While ISIS militants have tried to hide amongst the civilians, SDF investigations have resulted in the capture of over 500 militants who attempted to escape after blending in with civilian crowds.
Since the launch of the last stage of the Jazira Storm Operations in September 2018, the SDF has liberated a number of towns and villages held by ISIS in Deir ez-Zour.
In mid-December 2018, the SDF was able to liberate the most prominent remaining urban stronghold, Hajin, from ISIS control.
While there has been some pushback from ISIS, especially around late October to early November 2018, the assault by the SDF and the enhanced security on the Iraq border have prevented ISIS from recapturing liberated cities.
With the battle against ISIS reaching its final stages in Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi has announced his country’s readiness to play a more significant role in fighting ISIS in Syria, especially after the US’ withdrawal announcement.
With the recent advances against ISIS by the SDF and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) on the border of Iraq, the military defeat of ISIS in Syria is imminent within the next few months.