A group of 12 ISIS fighters launched a surprise attack on a key position of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Omar oil fields in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
The US-backed group managed to repel the attack with support from US-led coalition warplanes. 10 attackers were killed. However, the remaining 2 managed to withdraw back to the terrorist-held pocket in the middle Euphrates River Valley.
Several hours after the terrorist group attack, the SDF announced the beginning of its final advance in the Euphrates Valley.
“After saving more than 20K [20,000] civilians from ISIS-held area and ensuring their safety in nearby camps, the SDF started to move on to the last village remaining under jihadists’ control in Northern Syria. The village of Baghuz, which is the only remaining in ISIS pocket, will be cleared soon,” Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish group, said on Twitter.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the ISIS attack was an attempt to pressure the US-led coalition. Both sides reortedly resumed their negotiations few days ago. However, an agreement is yet to be reached.
“The group [ISIS] is trying to prove its offensive capabilities by carrying out operations against sensitive positions of the SDF and the US-led coalition in eastern Deir Ezzor,” the SOHR’s report reads.
The available information indicates that ISIS leaders want the coalition to allow them and their families to flee to a “safe area” in Syria or Iraq. In previous years of the conflict, the coalition stuck similar agreements with the terrorist group in Manbij, Tabqah and Raqqa.