On January 24, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that its fighters captured the strategic town of Gharanij located 10km north of Haijn in southeastern Deir Ezzor. Th eSDF killed 7 members of ISIS and destroyed a vehicle and a bulldozer of the terrorist group during their final assault on Gharanij, according to the SDF’s media center.
The low number of ISIS casualties suggests that the terrorists were able to withdraw from Gharanij. Barq al-Shaitat, one of the SDF’s Arab units, said before that they will open a route to allow ISIS fighters to withdraw from the town.
Meanwhile, Kurdish sources reported that clashes erupted between the SDF and ISIS east of al-Shaafah south of Hajin . Furthermore, the US-led coalition revealed that its warplanes destroyed a HQ of ISIS and killed 150 ISIS fighters in al-Shaafah on January 20.
From its side, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq said that 14 civilians including 7 women were killed in the US-led coalition airstrikes on al-the village of Shaafah on January 23.
Amaq also reported that ISIS fighters destroyed two armored vehicles of the SDF east of al-Shaafah with IEDs. Two other vehicles of the US-backed force were destroyed by ISIS fighters with ATGMs south of Hajin, according to the ISIS-linked news agency.
The SDF is likely planning to capture al-Shaafah in order to cut off Hajin from the Syrian-Iraqi border, before attacking ISIS inside the town.