DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:35 P.M.) – With apocalyptic battles unfolding in Raqqa and Mosul, the Islamic State has diverted much of its military capabilities to Deir Ezzor in a bid establish a new capital for the self-proclaimed caliphate.
Newly released images published by Amaq Agency shows scores of ISIS militants attacking positions held by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) around the Panorama roundabout on the embattled M7-highway leading to the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor.
Before the battle for Mosul began last year, ISIS withdrew all its tanks and armored vehicles from Iraq’s second largest city and transferred them to the Deir Ezzor frontier. The same has now happened with Raqqa city, military sources inform Al-Masdar News. This is primarily due to the lethal effectiveness of car bombs in urban warfare.
A large garrison of SAA troops – commanded by Major General Issam Zahreddine – has stood strong against a jihadist siege in Deir Ezzor that begin back in 2012, fighting off seemingly endless waves of attacks on a daily basis.
However, the Islamic State still maintains the upper hand in the city as the SAA has been unable to receive any new armored vehicles since 2014.