Late on December 11, ISIS cells launched a large-scale hit-and-run attack on several positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) 17th Division and the Palestinian al-Quds Brigade near the town of al-Masrab in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 17th Division personnel and al-Quds Brigade fighters clashed with the terrorists until the dawn of the next day.
“Seven members of the al-Quds Brigade and the 17th Division were killed, in addition to the wounding of about 17 others, who were transferred to Deir Ezzor Military Hospital,” the London-based monitoring group said in a report.
The attack coincided with intense clashes between the SAA and ISIS cells in the al-Bishri mountain, which lays along the administrative border between Deir Ezzor and Raqqa.
Last week, the SAA and several pro-government factions kicked off a combing operation in Deir Ezzor’s western desert in response to a series of attacks by ISIS cells. The Russian Aerospace Forces backed the operation.
One of ISIS bloodiest attacks in Deir Ezzor took place on December 2. The terrorists massacred nine civilians and a service member at a fake checkpoint they set up on al-Madhul – al-Bu Juma’a road in the western countryside of the governorate.
More efforts are clearly need to counter ISIS’ growing influence in Deir Ezzor’s western desert. Syrian government forces and their allies should act as soon as possible.