On March 6, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces liberated 4 villages: Tannouza, Rasm al-Hamam Miri, Ghadini and ‘Ashini. These advanes put government troops deeper to the ISIS-held area west of the Euphrates River and allowed government forces to partly isolate the ISIS stronghold of Deir Hafer.
If the Tiger Forces, backed by the Russian air power, are able to take control over the crossriad southeast of Deir Hafer, the ISIS stronghold will be de-facto cut off from the rest of the ISIS-held area in central Syria.
This will predetermine the fate of this strategic town – it will be liberated by government troops inevitably.
Veterans Today’s Jim W. Dean posted an interesting comment to our article:
We were not aware of the water plant strategic need until two days ago. This is why the SAA bypassed Deir-Hafer, not even stopping to cut the road off behind it. We have reports today also of a Syrian supply convoy that has gone into Manjbi, and that Syrian troops are now deploying into the buffer zone area between the Kurds and the Turks.
We have a Southfront report of some fighting with Turkish wounded, but are not sure of the location. This is a very delicate balancing game going on here where one misstep can bring it all crumbling down with Syrians and Turks in open conflict. That would put the Russians on the spot as to providing air cover protection to the Syrians from Turkish airstrikes and even ground attack missions if needed.
The SAA strategy seems to be encouraging the Deir-Hafer IS jihadis to retreat from the city while they still can. But that is a big gamble as the recent IS convoy retreating east from Palmyra was completely destroyed by air attacks. The SAA will want an un-destroyed operational base in Deir-Hafer for continuing operations. The jihadis might try to negotiate a safe passage withdrawl in return for avoiding a siege of the city that would tie up Syria troops longer when they have the Turks in the area with a lot of armor.
This whole area in the map above is a rich agricultural area with lots of orchards and irrigated water from Lake Assad. Cranking up the economy if these recaptured areas where there has not been total destruction is key to getting some normal economy going. It will also solidify the Assad government and army support, as they are one unit at this point in the war, going into the political talks.
The people will know who pushed IS out, make it possible to return to their homes and begin working again. This is why the opposition is trying to avoid haven an election to decided the political outcome. They know they will get crushed in an election. As I have so often said, the are only in the peace talks to try to win at the negotiation table what they lost on the battlefield, not something that the winners tend to do, especially when having paid a high price to win…