A military meeting was held in the capital Damascus to discuss a possible operation to lift of the ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor through the capture of the strategic Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway.
Representatives of the Russian military, high-ranking commanders of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), leaders of the newly-formed 5th Storming Corps, heads of Deir Ezzor tribes (like Fares Dagheem, Asa’ad al-Issa, Daham al-Jarad, and Mohammad Saleh) were involved.
The discussion focused on the possibility of launching a military operation to recapture the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway and to lift the siege from the embattled city.
It was suggested to launch a volunteer campaign to recruit the sons of Deir Ezzor from camps for internally displaced persons, tribal youth, and retired veterans to the 5th Storming Corps and pro-government tribal forces deployed in Palmyra and its countryside.
It is expected that Russia will support this campaign financially. Moscow has been already dooing this for some time providing a variety of weapons and equipment including the T-62m tanks to local tribal forces involved into the battle against ISIS.
This offensive is expected to have three phases:
- The first phase will be aimed at the liberation of the strategic city of Sakhnah located about 45 km east of SAA positions in Palmyra.
- The second phase will focus on capturing the town of Kobajjeb. The liberation of this town will require that the capture of 70 km of a roadway and mountain chains east of Sakhnah.
- The third and last phase will be a 50 km march to SAA positions in the Deir Ezzor Airbase and inside the city.
As soon as these goals are achieved, the SAA will launch the second operation to secure the Deir Ezzor city. The aforementioned operation is expected to be launched by the end of 2017 in light of the unwavering series of losses of the ISIS terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The SAA should not take more than a few months to accomplish the three phases of the operation that will entail ISIS’s banishment from the Syrian desert.