DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:20 P.M.) – ISIS lost a large chunk of territory to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies on Sunday as pro-government forces plunged the desert of southwestern Deir Ezzor, advancing over 10 kilometers in barely 24 hours.
The latest session of the ‘Big Dawn’ offensive has brought the Baktal border crossing back under government control for the first time since 2012, thereby establishing an ISIS border pocket southwest of this strategic point.
In addition, the SAA and allied paramilitary contingents have now brought their forward units within 30 kilometers of Abu Kamal, the last ISIS-controlled city in Syria, from its western flank.
Due to the region’s proximity with Iraq, the operation in southwestern Deir Ezzor axis is spearheaded by volunteer members of Hezbollah and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) although SAA troops are fighting alongside their ranks:
At one point in the video, a Syrian chopper is shown flying just meters above the ground, seemingly to boost the morale of foreign fighters helping the SAA against ISIS.
In related news, Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani arrived in the Deir Ezzor Governorate on Sunday to draw up plans for the coming assault on Abu Kamal.