After liberating over a dozen villages from ISIS in the past 48 hours, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has now officially severed the last strip of territory in eastern Aleppo that connected Turkish-led forces with the Islamic State.

A small pocket of two villages are still technically still under ISIS control although jihadist militants are believed to have evacuated from the area prior to its encirclement, leaving only mines in their wake.

Effectively, the Euphrates Shield forces must either attack the SAA or Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) if they are to advance deeper into Syria. Any such further aggression would put Ankara at odds with either the US or Russia.

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Nevertheless, the Turkish Armed Forces have heavily shelled regional villages controlled by the US-backed SDF over the past week while fierce clashes erupted with the Russian-backed SAA at Tadef yesterday, a government-held town neighbouring Al-Bab.

The Euphrates Shield offensive began last August with the swift capture of Jarabulus, a border town adjacent to the Euphrates River.

The Euphrates Shield forces are composed of the Turkish Army, Ahrar al-Sham, Failaq al-Sham and mostly Turkmen contingents of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Notably, the SAA and SDF have met up south of Manbij. These factions are not hostile to each other and share some checkpoints at Sheikh Maqsoud in the provincial capital of Aleppo and a rural area north of the city.

Last year, it was revealed that ISIS smuggled oil across the Turkish border. Although Turkey and ISIS are considered enemies of one another, rumours have persisted that black market trade (weapons for oil) continued in the region. This is no longer possible due to the SAA’s Toffensive.

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Now, the SAA’s Tiger Forces are expected to turn their attention towards Deir Hafer, the last city controlled by ISIS in the Aleppo governorate.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations for the effective move. Time will tell now, if turks has had now enough bloodshed at their operation. If i have to bet i would say this not enough for wannabe-ottoman Erdo. I suppose he will attack to Manbij.

  2. Great improvement. The SAA finally sealed IS from trade and human supplies via Turkey.

    p.s. Plus provided the SAA and the SDF can make an allegiance. The SAA can supply the Kurdish West cantons if needed. And if the SDF advance to Deir Ezzor continues that can be supplied via Kurdish roads too.

  3. next thing make triple sure that the road between Rutbah Anbar and Saudi Arabia is Daesh supply convoy free. And they’re outta supply for all they don’t make in Daeshistan.

  4. Sin duda excelente noticia para el pueblo Sirio, cortar suministros a ISIS para que no siga ingresando armas y mercenarios.
    Lo mas recomendable es formar alianza con SDF para enfrentar juntos y expulsar a los mercenarios invasores Turco.
    Si los mercenarios Turcos respetan el alto al fuego, el ejercito debe centrarse avanzar hacia el SurEste hacia Al-Tabqa, río Eufrates.