Syrian Democratic Forces edge Deir Ezzor after latest advances

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With the Syrian Democratic Forces’ powerful third phase in full swing in the northeastern countryside of Raqqa, the US-backed force launched a powerful assault targeting the handful of villages the Islamic State terror group still controls in southwest Hasakah effectively capturing Tal Zamuk, Azman, and a handful of hamlets bordering the administrative boundary of Deir Ezzor.

The latest advances place the Kurdish-Arab coalition in optimal position to attack Bir Shumri and the surrounding villages in this scarcely-populated desert region some 80 kilometers east of Raqqa.

This effort is likely part of the wider sphere of operations concentrated on isolating the self-proclaimed “caliphate’s” capital Raqqa from the extremist group’s other strongholds in Syria and Iraq. Though the Kurdish forces have managed to secure hundreds of villages from ISIS in their Raqqa operations, a daunting task lays ahead if Raqqa is to be isolated, surrounded, and captured- comparable in magnitude to Mosul’s operations.

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