On January 14, the Syrian Arab Army backed by pro-government factions, including the National Defense Forces (NDF), kicked off a new combing operation in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the operation is meant to secure the area of al-Duwair which is located between the towns of al-Mayadin and al-Bukamal.
In a report, the London-based monitoring group said that Syrian government forces are searching for “ISIS members who stepped up their activities in al-Badya [the Syrian desert] since the beginning of January.”
The new combing operation is backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, who have been targeting ISIS cell’s hideouts in the deserts of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. A recent wave of Russian airstrikes, which targeted the outskirts of the town of al-Resafa in the southern Raqqa countryside, killed 11 terrorists and wounded at least 20 others.
ISIS cells recent attacks on Syrian government forces in the southern countryside of Deir Ezzor were likely behind the decision to launch the operation.
- On January 12, the terrorists attacked a post of the Air Force Intelligence Directorate (AFID) near the town of al-Kashmah. Three officers of the AFID were killed and five others were wounded as a result of the attack.
- On January 13, the terrorists attacked several positions of the NDF near the town of al-Bukamal. Five NDF fighters were killed and 14 others were wounded in the attack.
The new operation will likely push ISIS cells out from Deir Ezzor desert for some time only. A more comprehensive operation is need to fully neutralize the terrorist group’s presence in the central region.