The Race For Deir Ezzor: US And Syrian Forces Are About To Collide

One year ago the US bombed Syrian Army positions in Deir Ezzor as ISIS advanced. Will there be a repeat as both sides vie for post-ISIS territory?

The Syrian Army continues to make rapid gains against ISIS in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor since breaking the years long terrorist siege earlier this week which had 100,000+ Syrian civilians trapped. On Saturday the army reached its most important goal in the campaign to date - the liberation of Deir Ezzor military airport which had been completely surrounded by ISIS for nearly a year. The army's full control of the airport means that most of Deir Ezzor's western half is now under the control of the government as all regime neighborhoods are now linked up for the first time with ISIS lines cut.

The Syrian foreign ministry said the liberation of the military airport "foreshadowed the end of terrorism". Indeed control of the base has long been considered key to the city's fate. ISIS fighters reportedly began fleeing areas surrounding the base once the army got the momentum, especially as areas adjacent to the base are open fields with little natural cover. The turning point came after the army captured the strategic hilltop of Tal Rubiyat, which overlooks the Ta'meen Base located northwest of the sprawling airport.

Celebrations ensued among Syrian officers and troops the moment Deir Ezzor's most important strategic section was liberated from ISIS on Saturday.

For much of the past year the airport was besieged while over 5000 civilians along with Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters were trapped inside the base. According to various reports from correspondents on the ground, it was defended from near daily ISIS attacks by starving base residents, and supplied from government air drops. Many lost their lives just attempting to access some of the hard to reach airdrops on which the base's survival depended.

The weekend victory means we could see the entire liberation of Deir Ezzor City wrap up more quickly than anyone expected. As the military airport is now able to ramp up operations and become the army's most well fortified forward operating base in the country's east, it will serve as a "launching pad to expand military operations in the region," according to a statement issed last week by the Syrian Army.


Map source: South Front

Though ISIS lines are crumbling, US presence in the area threatens to complicate the Syrian military's forward momentum in the eastern provinces of Deir Ezzor and Hasakah. On the very day the Syrian government celebrated this key victory, US coalition 'Operation Inherent Resolve' announced its own advance on ISIS held territory in Deir Ezzor through its allied partners on the ground, including the Kurdish and Arab SDF ('Syrian Democratic Forces'). The SDF is the Pentagon's favored (largely Kurdish) proxy in the East. At times it has clashed with Syrian troops, while at others has displayed some level of tacit and loose coordination.

The US coalition/SDF force is calling its own operation - which is occurring simultaneous to regime advances - “Operation Jazeera Storm". A coalition statement issued the very day of the military airport's liberation reads as follows:

The Combined Joint Task Force Coalition welcomes the announcement by the Syrian Arab Coalition of the commencement of their offensive to defeat ISIS in the Khabur River valley, dubbed “Operation Jazeera Storm,” north of Dayr Az Zawr in eastern Syria, Sept. 9.

 

...Coalition forces will support the SAC during the Khabur River valley offensive as part of their ‘advise and assist’ mission, providing equipment, training, intelligence and logistics support, precision fires and battlefield advice.

The Khabur River valley lies north of Deir Ezzor. Reportedly the coalition statement at first designated Deir Ezzor city itself as the target of new operations (instead of the broader area of the "Khabur River valley") while also making reference to "anti-Syrian regime forces". But the statement was quickly altered on the coalition's press page to read the less overtly provocative sounding "Syrian Arab Coalition".

Meanwhile the SDF did make an advance in Deir Ezzor city from the north side of the Euphrates. It looks increasingly like US-backed SDF forces and the Syrian Army could be set to clash as both roll back ISIS lines from either side of the Euphrates. The SDF's surprisingly rapid advance Friday and Saturday was assisted by US and coalition airstrikes and was further made possible by the Syrian Army's weakening
of ISIS defenses on the southeast side of the river.


Map source: Syrian Civil War Maps

The airspace over Deir Ezzor is potentially growing even more dangerous as there are substantial rumors that the US coalition has declared a no fly zone (NFZ) over the north side of the Euphrates. In the meantime, Syrian and Russian air operations in the area will only increase with Deir Ezzor military airport's returning to full service. 

It was nearly one year ago that the US coalition launched a massive air attack on Syrian government troops in Deir Ezzor at the very moment they were fighting ISIS. The US characterized it as a case of mistaken identity while Syria accused the US coalition of directly aiding ISIS by the attack. The incident did allow ISIS to become entrenched around the contested air base. A report by military analysts John Dolan and Mark Ames (creators of "The War Nerd" podcast) summarizes the attack as follows:

"On September 17, 2016 (just about a year ago), the USAF led a huge air strike on Deir ez Zor, featuring USAF A-10s, Australian F/A-18s, Danish F-16s, and British Reaper drones.

 

They blasted SAA troops around Deir ez Zor, killing about 100 of them and wounding hundreds more. The attack lasted more than an hour. During that time, Russian liaison officers were screaming “Stop! Stop!” to their USAF counterparts. No response.

 

At first the US denied everything, dragging out well-known Humanitarian Interventionist Samantha Power to call the Russian accusations a “...stunt—a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding...” Well, folks, if there’s two things Samantha knows, it’s moralistic grandstanding. So you’d think she must’ve been right.

 

But no. The raid happened, just the way the Russians said it did. Eventually the USAF apologized, sort of.

 

Luckily, the media managed to be stoical about the actual death of SAA soldiers in a way it failed to maintain about fictional massacres and rapes in places like Aleppo — so the damage was easily contained, at least on the media front. As food ran short in the city, the same brave indifference characterized the response of all but a few media outlets.

 

On the actual battle front in Deir ez Zor, the damage was more real. After the USAF & co. softened up the enemy for them, IS attacked and took several strategic hills overlooking the town. Like most victories during the long siege, though, the advantage was brief. With Russian air power helping, the SAA retook most of the ground they’d lost.

 

This stalemate is the most remarkable thing about the war in Deir ez Zor. How do you explain it?"

As ISIS continues to rapidly collapse in its last two strongholds (Raqqa and Deir Ezzor cities), the competition for recovery of territory seems in full gear between the US-SDF and Syria-Russia alliances. Deir Ezzor province happens to be Syria's most oil-rich territory, which means the future of some of Syria's largest oil fields remains up for grabs.

Comments

Manthong EuroPox Sun, 09/10/2017 - 09:47 Permalink

 
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Russian air support was critical to the Syrian success against ISIS. I wish we could air drop Nikki Haley and Heather Nauert down on the terrorists…… They could get pretty well distracted.

In reply to by EuroPox

EuroPox Volkodav Sun, 09/10/2017 - 10:31 Permalink

http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=73260"The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a new airdrop carried out by warplanes of the International Coalition near Deir Ezzor city, from the northern side, where the helicopters which carried out the airdrop transported several persons, in which reliable sources said to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that they are likely to be members of ISIS, security members and others of who deals with the International Coalition, within repeated operations by the International Coalition during the past days, in which it transported European fighters and others local and of Arab nationalities."

In reply to by Volkodav

giovanni_f EuroPox Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:15 Permalink

The likes of George Soros and CIA sponsored nation builders are busy trying to create a new entity called North Syria or Rojava, depending on what Kurdish clans you listen to. Interesiting thing is that the Kurds make less than 10% of Syria but claim a fourth of its territory. Of course the Assyrians, Turks, Christians won't be asked if they'd prefer to be ruled from Damascus. Moreover, the Kurds are not the majority in what is sometimes referred to as the Democratic Federation of North Syria (DFNS) - which is supported by a.o. George Soros, see here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/ercan-ayboga/solution-for-syria-en-route-democratic-federation-of-north-syriaThe US fostered separation will again lead to a disaster and the whole array of atrocities that naturally come along with large-scale ethnic-based experiments. Neither Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria want a Kurdish state, nor want the non-kurdish people in the areas claimed by the Kurds be governed by Kurdish clans.

In reply to by EuroPox

Escrava Isaura Volkodav Sun, 09/10/2017 - 11:45 Permalink

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EuroPox:  when refer site, provide link... Good luck.  

In reply to by Volkodav

JohninMK HRClinton Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:13 Permalink

As the article implies but doesn't really explore, we are heading into a very interesting turning point in the war.For a whole multitude of reasons USrael wanted shot of a stable, pro Russian Syria and were prepared to turn it into a rabid basket case to achieve it. Whilst that plan has failed spectacularly the fundamental desire is still there and there is still a faction desperately trying to get something out of the $B now down the drain. Their only hope now seems to be on somehow keeping Syria east of the Euphrates in the hands of the Kurds and if possible joining it to the Kurdish enclaves in the surrounding countries. In this way they could keep terrorism bubbling along in the region for decades, ensuring that a prosperous peace never came to the region. Unfortunately for USrael those surrounding countries and Syria don't see it that way.Were those countries, Turkey/Iran/Iraq/Syria to fall in with the plan they would in effect be ceding their territory to create a new country with nasty intent. They have all, plus Russia/China, publicly said that it will not happen, the borders of Syria are inviolate and the country will not be divided. This puts USrael in an uncomfortable position, in possession of territory that others say it shouldn't be in.Its military, called the Coalition for obvious reasons, is doing what it does well, smashing 3rd world light infantry (ISIS) using a local 3rd world light infantry (SDF) backed by 1st world air power, special forces and artillery, so gaining the territory it was told to capture. Unfortunately it wasn't quick enough to grab it all before the Syrian Government's army (SAA) got into a position to make a blocking movement. The situation now is that the two sides are in places 10 or so miles apart with ISIS in the middle and both wanting that territory. That means both sides want to use their artillery and aircraft in very close proximity with very limited communications between the two.There is an obvious dividing line, the River Euphrates, and it was thought that the Russians/Americans had, in order to keep possible conflicts between them to a minimum, come to some kind of agreement to stay on 'their' side of it. That was easy then when the opposing sides had lots of desert between them but now the SAA is on the banks of the river with proper Russian bridging gear.USrael's position is worsened as the SDF forces who, due to pressure from Turkey have no tanks or artillery of their own and have to rely on 500 US Marine gunners with their artillery plus Coalition aircraft, are no match for the fully equipped Government army of Syria without Coalition help.Is USrael prepared to back the SDF and go head to head with the SAA and their Russian Army and Air Force allies? In effect a WW3 skirmish. Or are the just going to thank the SDF for helping, OK doing the heavy lifting, get rid of ISIS and tell them that they can eith face the SAA on their own or give up having wasted hundreds of their buddies lives.Also, once ISIS are on their last legs it will become increasingly difficult for the US to argue that legally they can be in Syria at all.This is one of the big problems when politicians like Trump tells the 'military' to solve a problem, pushing diplomats, the only ones who can actually sove the problem, to one side.Incidently, once the 'managers' in ISIS have been extracted the USrael will cease to be a ISIS air force, they don't care less what happens to ISIS foot soldiers, they are just cannon fodder and can be easily replaced in any new ISIS action locations.

In reply to by HRClinton

veritas semper… Manthong Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:30 Permalink

Why so cruel? I consider those bimbos worse than them.They are all the same type,the UN envoys and state department ones:They all have an empty look,devoid of a soul,very arrogant ,looking down on you ,and monumentally stupid. Where do they find them? What do they have to do to"qualify" for the job?(I'm sorry I asked this.Don't answer it) 

In reply to by Manthong

veritas semper… EuroPox Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:35 Permalink

Well,there is a change of plans. US can't use ISIS anymore and be their airforce as before,instead they use the kurds as"liberation army"aka occupying land,especially oil rich one,while the US airforce is killing the civilians ,aka ethinc cleansing ,as illustrated by the increasing number of civilians killed in Syria/Iraq. At the same time ,they are moving their ISIS assets in other positions/countries.Observe how quick the kurds are "liberating" the area(after ISIS was told to leave and allowed to excape)The kurds must be a special type of stupid ,if they rely on US after all the evidence of betrayal the US did to all their allies(after using them). As Lenin said,useful idiots.But,I am sure that this stupid plan is going to fail.Like everything the US did lately. Not that US won't continue to do what it does best=killing,raping,destroying countries ans sowing devastation all over the world. In this case ,all the local players,Iran,Syria,Turkey,Iraq are against it. And thay will have more weight than Us with a few miltary bases,fortified by sand bags and an ""army of stupid minions"

In reply to by EuroPox

General Titus evoila Sun, 09/10/2017 - 10:28 Permalink

Ask yourelves, what has secular Syria done to the US that would warrant Obozo & criminal traitor Hillaries taking hundreds of millions of US tax dollars to train, equip, arm, and supply Islamic terrorists against the Syrian people who besides having a large composition of Christians, has the "diversity" of religions and ethnicities that cultural marxist liberal useless idiots claim to worship

In reply to by evoila

veritas semper… General Titus Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:45 Permalink

I have a few answers(maybe not all)-they were an old,reliable ally of Russia-Mr. Assad,like his father,always opposed the Zionist Entity trying to grab land from the neighbours,especially Lebanon(see prior wars to help Lebanon,support for Hezbollah).Together with Iran,they form the Shia resistance. (Now this added the Christian Orthodox to it. It's funny,because this alliance between Rum,the third Rome,aka Russia and Muslims ,is mentioned in the Koran)-they do not have a Rothschild CB-they have oil/gas reserves-they opposed that US/Israel/Qatar pipeline,and signed for the Iraq/Iran one

In reply to by General Titus

General Titus veritas semper… Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:41 Permalink

You are of course correct and than add in the Updated Yinon Plan. I was using it as a question to the gullible and uninformed people, because Syria has not done a thing to the American people.The Barnabas Fund website, which is one of the oldest Christian relief organizations in the world, was reporting all along the Iran Syria Operations Groups efforts to foment sectarian violence, terrorism, and murders in Syria all the way back form the beginning.  Go there if your interested and scroll through their archives and you will see what these "rebels" were really doinghttps://barnabasfund.org/

In reply to by veritas semper…

veritas semper… General Titus Sun, 09/10/2017 - 14:27 Permalink

yes,I know you knew bout it. My answer was for the same reasons you saked the question.Have you seen what the Russian Defence Department spokesperson said,that no western country gave any humanitarian aid to Deir Ezzor City after its liberation? they don't care at all about them.Where are the "Western Values"?This alone and the genocide in Yemen tell you what you need to know about those "values" and the hypocrisy of the US/UK/ and all the west

In reply to by General Titus

JohninMK veritas semper… Sun, 09/10/2017 - 17:11 Permalink

I think you meant to say Aleppo.As per this thread, part of Deir has only just been relieved in the last couple of days and the big aid that has gone in so far has been a very large Syrian Government convoy (about 1000 tons) and a smaller Russian one. Both under heavy guard in case of ISIS flank attacks, which fortunately did not happen.It will be difficult for a while for anyone other than them to get aid in.

In reply to by veritas semper…

veritas semper… JohninMK Sun, 09/10/2017 - 18:26 Permalink

No,I meant to say Deir Ezzor and this is what the Russian general said,too. The highway to Deir Ezzor is now completley free. Those people suffered a total of 5 years from the seige(2 from our friends and allies there ,AlQaeda and 3 and 1/2 from ISIS our other friends,for whom we provided aircover).I saw a documentary about it,made me cry.People died of hunger,could not get out because they were shot at .They relied only on some airdrops of food and medications the army did,and even those were shot at. Children recovering  spilled rice from the sand.Early in the seige,ISIS destroyed all their sources of water(they could not do this without having the exact location of them,provided by satelites.Ask yourself to what country those satelites belong ? The people  survived because they drank water from the river.Almost no medications,very few doctors.Everything ISIS,WITH US help did there amount to war crimes. Real ones ,not fake like Nuremberg ones.And now ,nobody from the west is sending any relief to those poor people. Not only this,but US and EU(asked by US) sanctioned the generals from Deir Ezzor,especially the hero,Gen.Zahreddine.As if he gives a f*ck on what those psychopaths think or do.I am so disgusted of what US is now=the whore of Babylon,riding the beast. But the whore will be killed by the beast itself.( the whore ,aka US is killed by the beast,aka the zionist financial system. The 7 headed beats is the financial system,and the dollar,with its 7 presidential heads on the 1,2,5,10,20,50,100 $ bill) I did not believe in those prophecies,revelations,but they seem very descriptive of what is happening now.

In reply to by JohninMK

General Titus veritas semper… Sun, 09/10/2017 - 20:29 Permalink

Spot on my friend. You will like the Moon Of Alabama, & Southfront websites for great info on Syria & other issuesPeaceWanted to add since you are "tuned in" as I can see about your last post. Did you ever look into the Podesta Twilight language pedo emails? If you look up Marina Abromavich's Spirit Cooking videos on YT you'll see her using blood, semen, breast milk etc for Bablyonian Satanic rituals. Take a look also at the Comet Pizza logo. Now look into the symbology for the "Whore of Bablyon". I think you'll get my friendBablyonian "Talmud"

In reply to by veritas semper…

chubbar Truther Sun, 09/10/2017 - 10:09 Permalink

Exactly, what the US is doing is against international law and the UN sits there saying nothing, as usual. The US has turned into a rogue state, pushing it's armed forces into other countries' territories with no regard to the rule of law or what we, the US citizens, have to say about it. This is what a tyrannical gov't that owns the printing press of the world's reserve currency does. It's no wonder China/Russia are trying to subvert the dollars use around the world.

In reply to by Truther

FixItAgainTony Winston Churchill Sun, 09/10/2017 - 14:15 Permalink

The UN was shown to be compromised by 5-eyes intel agencies long ago. They can do nothing effective because diplomat/ic secrets would be "leaked" to the public in the most PR damaging ways available.

For example, UN IG Kofi Annan stood silently as GWB lied about Iraq not cooperating with weapon inspectors right before the March 2003 offensive. He could have easily corrected the focus group tested lie that day. But because 5-eyes had a nice set of thumbscrews on Koffi, he just smiled like an Uncle Tom.

The only thing John Bolton has ever been right about is dissolving the UN, as it is worse than finished. The UN is the false hope that rogue empires can be controlled.

In reply to by Winston Churchill

Jim in MN Sun, 09/10/2017 - 09:35 Permalink

Peace in the Middle East: a historic breakthrough, and the Deep State traitors' worst nightmare.I believe that ALL MAJOR CITIES in the Mideast are now at peace, despite some continuing fighting in Kabul and Sanaa (Yemen).When was the last time this happened?  Decades?THANKS TRUMP

dogismycopilot Jim in MN Sun, 09/10/2017 - 09:59 Permalink

What fucking crack are you smoking?Yemen = genocideLibya = terrorist central parkAfghanistan = Taliban breeding groundIraq = belongs to Iran nowQatar = blockadedSaudi Arabia = lots of killing happening there, you're just not hearing about itBahrain = Sunnis still killing ShiasSyria = FUBARD with the Liver Eaters dug in worse than the the Japs on GuadacanalTrump? His Foreign Policy is like a horror movie...Ben Rhodes return of the living dead meets NEOCON this is the movie before "The Day After" .

In reply to by Jim in MN