DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) – On Thursday, Islamic State forces completely withdrew from vulnerable territory located on the southern bank of the Euphrates River on the frontline between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
This led to the SAA and SDF exchanging skirmishes with one another in a de facto no-mans zone in western Raqqa which government forces hope to take control of in the coming hours after liberating the adjacent Maskanah Plains last month.
Although ISIS no longer controls around 20 villages due to the tactical retreat, much of the rural area is believed to be booby-trapped and remains off limits to both the SAA and SDF.
Therefore, the SAA’s Tiger Forces are expected to wait until Friday morning before entering the abandoned villages. Meanwhile, Russian and Syrian warplanes bombed ISIS convoys which were leaving the aforementioned area en route to Raqqa city.