According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to reach the Syrian-Iraqi border after a fast advane in the southeastern desert.
The SAA also captured a desert road north of Al-Tanf and areas under the US-led coalition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) control. According to the map released by the Russian military, government forces took control of the area near al-Bawdah.
“We see that coalition’s actions only prevents the government forces from defeating Daesh [ISIS] terrorists,” chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said. “While declaring its aim as the fight against international terrorism, the coalition carries out strikes against Syrian troops, lets Daesh [ISIS] militants out of encirclement areas, thus, strengthening terrorist units near Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor.”
It is believed that the Russian Special Operations Forces may have participated in the operation alongside the SAA. Moreover, there have been unconfirmed reports of the deployment of Russian Army forces on the road to prevent the US-led coalition from attacking the SAA.
Russian MoD:Syrian Army take control Al-Bawdah and reached the Syrian- Iraqi border 40 km south of village pic.twitter.com/mVQVg2x9Ly
— Military Advisor (@miladvisor) 9 June 2017
The Hezbollah media wing has also confirmed the gains at the border with Iraq.
With this advance, SAA has returned to the Syrian-Iraqi border for the first time in three years. The SAA had lost the Baghdad-Damascus road after ISIS attack on Al-Tanf in 2014.
Now, it will be almost impossible for the FSA and the US-led coalition to attack Deir Ezzor from the southern direction because the SAA blocked the road to it, and Iraq wouldn’t allow the US coalition to launch an operation towards Deir Ezzor from its territory.
The US-led coalition maintains very advanced positions in the Shaddadi area north of Deir Ezzor and Wadi Baqar village north-east of Deir Ezzor. However, any attack by the US-led coalition on ISIS from the north may ease the pressure on the SAA in Deir Ezzor and allow government forces to capture it completely. So the United States will not conduct this move.
The SAA next target may be Al-Qa’am border crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The possible operation towards Qa’am may be a joint joint effort of the SAA and the Irai Popular Mobilization Units.