BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 P.M.) – Thus far the year of 2017 in the Syrian War has turned out to be the most militarily active and strategically mobile. In particular the war against ISIS in the last six months has witnessed some of the most breathtaking territorial advances between pro-government forces and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, although by far, the former alliance force holds the record in terms of the sheer amount of land and attached economic prizes it has reclaimed from the terrorist polity and degree of military damage it has inflicted on the army of ISIS. Specifically, pro-government advances demonstrate that the Damascus government is in fact fighting the Islamic State, despite the reality-defying objections of the Western-commandeered pseudo-opposition. ISIS for its part appears to be throwing what remains of its veteran manpower and heavy firepower at the tide of encroaching forces against it in an all-out bid to stave-off its seemingly inevitable defeat as a state entity.

THIS NARRATION TEXT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

Since mid-January the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces have embarked on a relentless strategic operation to expel ISIS from the province of Aleppo and gain a strong foothold in the province of Raqqah. Meanwhile, in an equally tireless and protracted operation, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been attempting to isolate the city of Raqqah; this has seen the SDF clear most of the northern bank of the Euphrates and even establish a bastion in the area of Tabaqah to outflank the city from the southern direction. In response to both pro-government and SDF advances, ISIS has itself launched a series of offensives on the besieged pro-government forces in the city of Deir Ezzor, managing to split the pocket into two, but failing to overrun either the government-held sections of the city, the Syrian Army’s 137th Brigade Base or the military airbase.

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THIS NARRATION TEXT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

In the province of Homs, pro-government forces, led by the Russian-trained, equipped and partially-commanded Syrian 5th Assault Corps have, also since mid-January opened up a second dedicated front against ISIS, driving towards the oil-rich centre of the country along the Homs to Deir Ezzor highway securing the mountainous terrain that flanks the road to both the north and the south. The ancient city of Palmyra was liberated in early-March and in the three months since then, pro-government forces have advanced beyond the town of Arak in the direction of Sukhana, the last ISIS stronghold before Deir Ezzor. US-backed Free Syrian Army mercenaries operating in the Syria Badiah have expanded their presence in the provinces of Rif Dimashq and As-Suwaydah, with the withdrawal of ISIS forces from these regions. In response, pro-government forces, have renewed their own operations in the Syrian desert, nullifying the initial Free Syrian Army strategic initiative and stopping short of taking the town of al-Tanf only due to US airstrikes. In any case, pro-government forces capitalised on their advances in this area by also completely clearing central Homs of ISIS in a brilliant blitz operation and reached the Syrian-Iraqi border in a cross-desert penetration attack to the northeast of al-Tanf, effectively isolating Coalition forces; this objective was also used to launch further attacks in the direction of Sukhana which have thus far resulted in the capture of the T-3 Airbase and its surrounding complex.

THIS NARRATION TEXT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

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Thus, six months into the year 2017, the Islamic State as a de facto territorial entity in Syria has diminished by virtual half given the most conservative estimates. The pseudo-Caliphate, first declared in 2014, now appears to be doomed experiment.

THIS NARRATION TEXT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

Regarding the advances of pro-government forces and those of the SDF, the push towards central and eastern Syria between the two meta-alliances appears to have degenerated into a race to secure key roads, resource infrastructures and strategic boundaries. Whilst the pro-government alliance aims to restore Syrian sovereignty as much as possible from a self-inviting alien entity, the US is in the process of exterminating the Frankstein child of its post-2011 foreign policy approach to the Middle East, now hedging its bets on Kurdish nationalist aspirations as a vessel through which to preserve its regional dominance. With all that has happened and all that could yet happen, it is worth remembering that the Summer season has only just arrived and there are yet six more months left to 2017.

THIS NARRATION TEXT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

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