Latest reports from Syria – where the Russian military belatedly confirmed the liberation of the key strategic town of Al-Sukhnah on Sunday – confirm that the Syrian army’s operation to link up the northern wing of its forces located around Resafa with the southern wing now based in newly liberated Al-Sukhnah is making rapid progress, with units of the Syrian army advancing towards each other from the northern and southern directions rapidly approaching each other.
Some of this territory is very rugged, offering good opportunities for ISIS to defend itself, but in the event it seems ISIS’s resistance is collapsing rapidly, with its fighters being brushed aside.
Once the Syrian army completes this link up a huge area of ISIS controlled territory in central Syria – and all the ISIS fighters stationed there – will be completely surrounded.
South Front has published a map of the current situation in Syria which gives a good impression of the current state of the fighting there
The map gives a good impression of the huge expansion of the territory under the Syrian army’s control in the last few weeks. Suffice to say that on Sunday Russian Defence Minister Shoigu told Russia’s Rossiya 1 TV that in the previous two months the Syrian army had liberated twice as much territory as the total amount of territory that it controlled when the Russian military arrived in Syria in September 2015.
The map also gives a good impression of the size of the ISIS controlled territory in central Syria which will be encircled once the Syrian army link up is completed.
ISIS is far from giving up in Syria. On the contrary the 2,000 ISIS fighters besieged by the US backed Kurdish led SDF militia in ISIS’s former capital Raqqa are continuing to put up a determined resistance. ISIS is also concentrating most of its remaining forces in Deir Ezzor province, and has repeatedly shown that it is still capable of launching fierce counter-attacks against the encircling Syrian and Iraqi armies.
However once the Syrian army’s encirclement of the ISIS controlled salient into central Syria is complete, it will be only a matter of time before ISIS’s position in central Syria collapses, delivering a huge area of central Syria back to the Syrian army’s control, and securing the eastern hinterland of Aleppo.
At that point ISIS will have suffered the greatest defeat in its history, and the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the end of its Caliphate will be in sight.