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BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:10 P.M.) – The first half of October has made it clear that Deir Ezzor Governorate is the focus point for offensive military operations against ISIS by both pro-government and Kurdish-led forces.
Whilst the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries – backed-up by Russian airpower – scramble to secure the western bank of the Euphrates River and fully liberate the city of Deir Ezzor (in which ISIS militants are now besieged), Kurdish-led forces are attempting to capture the remainder of Khabur River and as much as the eastern Euphrates bank as possible.
Both pro-government forces and Kurdish-led militias aim to capture the Omari Oil Field. This strategic energy site, located just southeast of the Euphrates-Khabur river junction, is said to have contributed to about one quarter of pre-war Syria’s oil production.
The army’s recent liberation of central Syria from ISIS militants has freed up thousands more assault troops to bolster pro-government operations in Deir Ezzor province.
Beginning in late-September, the Islamic State launched a number of offensives against pro-government forces in eastern Homs and western Deir Ezzor. Whilst the jihadist faction succeeded in capturing and holding the oasis town of Al-Qaryatayn, all its gains near As-Sukhnah and along the M20 highway were reversed within ten days.
In the event, the offensives by ISIS failed to even slow down the pace of Syrian Army operations further east as elite Syrian forces successfully advanced on and liberated the city of Al-Mayadeen.
Pro-government forces are now in a position whereby they can cross the Euphrates east of Al-Mayadeen towards the Omari Oil Field and/or push south towards the strategic Syrian-Iraqi border town of Al-Bukamal.