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Since the start of the week, the Syrian Army has repelled several ISIS attacks on its positions in the desert in central Syria.
The most recent attack took place in eastern Homs early on July 2 and became the largest one so far. Clashes lasted for several hours and Syrian troops even called for support from the Russian Aerospace Forces. Pro-opposition media claim that up to 10 soldiers were killed on injured in the encounter, but this is yet to be confirmed.
In response to this attack, the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of raids against detected positions of the terrorist group on the western bank of the Euphrates and near the US-controlled al-Tanf zone on July 2 and July 3.
According to Syrian sources, hundreds of ISIS members still hide in the desert using underground tunnels and mobile groups of fighters equipped with all that is needed to operate independently. Over the past months, the Syrian military has made several attempts to track and eliminate these units. However, it has achieved only a partial success.
On July 2, forces of Turkey’s Syrian National Army shelled a positon of the Syrian Army west of the Turkish-occupied town of Tell Abyad triggering local clashes. The most intense fighting erupted near the village of Abdi. According to pro-government sources, at least one Syrian soldier was injured and a few Turkish proxies were killed.
Turkish-backed forces continue regular ceasefire violations despite the recent military buildup undertaken by the Syrian Army near the contact line in northeastern Syria. Most likely, Turkish proxies feel a kind of impunity thanks to the direct protection of the Turkish Armed Forces. This behavior instigates military tensions in the region.
Meanwhile, Syrian forces blocked a US military convoy at the al-Dardara bridge on the road between Tel Tamr and Abu Rasin in the northern countryside of Hasaka. After a short verbal confrontation, the US convoy withdrew from the area. Recently, such incidents between Syrian and US forces in Hasakah province became something common. Apparently, the Damascus government boosted its efforts to limit the freedom of operations of the US-led coalition there.
The situation stabilized in the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. After almost a week of clashes and competing accusations by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Fa Ithbatu coalition (both groups linked with al-Qaeda), the sides reached a ceasefire deal. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham once again demonstrated that it is the most influential and militarily capable group in the opposition-held area.