DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:45 A.M.) – On Friday evening, a source embedded with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Al-Masdar News that the Kurdish-led troops had finalized preparations for their Deir Ezzor offensive. This comes just days after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) lifted the long-standing siege of the provincial capital.
According to the source, the initial step of the coming offensive looks to push south along both banks of the Khabur River to dislodge ISIS militants from a string of towns in the southern countryside of Hasakah.
Once this stage is completed, the US-backed SDF hopes to reach the northern side of the Euphrates River to set Rojava’s (Syrian Kurdistan) future border with the SAA.
Hundreds of jihadist fighters are reported to have retreated from the Khabur River front in recent weeks to fight the SAA in Deir Ezzor city instead, thereby rendering ISIS’ frontline in southern Hasakah relatively weak and vulnerable to attacks.
However, the SAA – heavily backed by Russia – hopes to cutoff the SDF from their intended plans by pushing troops east across the Euphrates River to reach the border with Iraq. In effect, a race has begun between the rival parties to liberate territory from ISIS.
At the moment, the vast majority of the SDF’s manpower is tied up in the ongoing Euphrates Wrath campaign inside Raqqa city.
Click here for an interactive battle map of Syria for a better strategic understanding.