On June 9, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied militia groups reached the border with Iraq in the area north of the US-led coalition garrison at the village of At Tanf. This advance dramatically changed the strategic situation in southeastern Syria and de-facto allowed the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance to win the race for the border with Iraq.
The key goal of the US-led coalition actions near At Tanf was to prevent the SAA from linking up with the allied Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) operating in Iraq and to build a buffer zone controlled by Western-backed militant groups between the two countries.
The PMU is a major power in Iraq and an official part of the Iraqi Armed Forces. It’s currently conducting a large-scale operating against ISIS terrorists at own side of the border. The June 9 advance destroyed the US-led coalition’s plans.
The government forces deployed north of At Tanf also prevent US-backed proxies from advancing on the ISIS-held border town of al-Bukamal. While the US-led forces in southeastern Syria have never had enough manpower and capabilities to do this, the declared aim to retake al-Bukamal from ISIS was an important part of the US propaganda campaign to justify its illegal presence in the area.
The government deploymen north of At Tan may also be described as a response to actions of another US-backed force, the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the province of Raqqah. The SDF had made a number of steps near Tabqah blocking the SAA from reaching the Raqqah provincial capital.
Now, government forces in southeastern Syrian forces will likely coordinate its efforts with the PMU in order to clear the Syrian-Iraqi border area and to move to al-Bukamal and Qaim. Iran will also be able to incease supplies to the Syrian government via the opened land route.
Some PMU member groups are already participating in the operations in Syria on the side of the SAA. Now, this number will likely be increased.