BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIL) is on the verge of suffering several major setbacks across the northern region of Syria, as both government and Kurdish forces swiftly advance in the Al-Raqqa and Aleppo governorates.

While the liberation of Raqqa City will no doubt be a demoralizing loss for ISIL, this battle often overshadows the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) ongoing operations along the Aleppo-Raqqa axis.

For the Islamic State, losing Raqqa City doesn’t mean the end of their so-called ‘caliphate’ in northern Syria; however, the loss of the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway does.

Over the last three years, the Islamic State has used this highway to transport provisions to their forces in east Aleppo and west Al-Raqqa; without it, they are left with no supply route to the Maskanah and Khanasser plains or the western bank of the Euphrates River.

More importantly, should they lose both the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway and Raqqa City, this will mark the end of the Islamic State’s reign in northern Syria.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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Deo Cass

There is no need to mention Raqqa since ISIS have long abondoned it. ISIS will place all of its stakes on combatting the Syrian Arab Army round the oil and gas rich Deir Ezzur to prevent the Syrian government from reclaiming Syria’s natural resources and allowing the US other proxies of the SDF to steal them instead. An attack on the Shay’rat Airbase in the Homs Governorate by the ISIS Air Force of the US coaltion will seriousely compromise the Syrian Arab Army advance.

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Deo Cass

If I were the Syrian Arab Army, I would place top priority on gaining control of all the oil and gas fields in the area to the East and West, staeting with the Halima oil wells to the East and going down to Kala, Zemlah, Dubaysan and Al-Kadir. It has to be borne well in mind that winning the war is not enough. What comes after and re-construction are to be planned from now and Syria’s natural resources will serve as fodder for Syria to heal the wounds of war and become strong again.