Syria’s army and its allies will keep fighting in Syria after the battle ends in Deir ez-Zor province, where ISIS has its last significant stronghold, President Bashar al-Assad said on November 7.
He also indicated that he might take the war to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control more than a quarter of Syria, by saying the war targeted those who seek to “divide and weaken states”.
“The victories against terrorist organizations, starting in Aleppo and not ending in Deir ez-Zor, formed a critical strike that foiled partition projects and terrorist goals,” Assad’s office quoted him as saying.
In order to support SDF fighters in Syria, US forces have used an air base located about 90 miles north, near the city of Kobane. Overall lack of policy regarding Syria seems odd considering Trump’s Administration in general do not consider Syria’s legitimate President Bashar al-Assad to be suitable to stay in power. The other people in the US top brass see al-Assad as the only man capable of stopping Syria from becoming a metaphorical “black hole engulfing much of the region”.
The Syrian government considers the presence of US forces in Syria illegal but has granted permission for bases to Russia and Iran, both of which have helped Syria’s armed forces regain much of the territory lost to insurgents since 2011. Damascus has leased two major military bases to Moscow, including an air base in Latakia and a naval base in Tartous. Both Russian military bases will most likely stay in the country after the defeat of ISIS, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said.
Tehran is also believed to maintain a drone base not far from US forces and their allies in al-Tanf, according to US officials cited in June by NBC News. Iran sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its regional interests in order to ensure its access to Lebanon and keep Saudi Arabia from extending its influence in the Levant.