The Syrian Arab Army’s blitz offensive against ISIS in the eastern Aleppo combat sector has seen the virtual expunging of the terrorist group’s presence from entire northeastern part of Aleppo province and its forced withdraw to final defensive lines anchored around the Maskaneh steppelands.
Observing this battle at the strategic level, it can be seen that the Tiger Forces have conducted their offensive over the last two months according to a multi-phased scheme which has seen the liberation of Tadef, the a completed sealing of the frontline with Turkey-led forces moving down from the north, the reaching of Lake Assad on the Euphrates and the now still ongoing attempt to cut the Deir Hafer to Raqqah road.
The achievements of the last two months for the pro-government forces includes the liberation of 150 plus villages and towns within an area of one thousand square kilometres, the possession of a sizable portion of the Euphrates for the first time five years and the killing of around 1,000 ISIS militants. In addition to this, any ambitions the Turkey-led forces ever had to push deeper into the Syrian interior under the pretext of fighting ISIS has been forever denied as the Tiger Forces have driven a thirty kilometre buffer zone between Turkish-led lines and ISIS lines.
The elite Tiger Forces which are leading this pro-government juggernaut have been conducting their offensive under the privileged conditions of superior manpower and firepower. Since the battle is being fought over the rolling plains of east Aleppo province where there is very little in the way of urbanised or mountainous terrain, it comes as no surprise that the Tiger Forces are employing a third-generation warfare operational model in which armour, mechanised infantry, artillery and airpower is being used to maximum effect and to which the Tigers are at every advantage. In particular, heavy artillery bombardment and round-the-clock airpower is not only being used to smoke out ISIS strongpoints, but it is also being used to destroy all other echelons of the terrorist group’s order of battle as far back as their strategic infrastructures.
Make no mistake, ISIS is being overwhelmed at every given point of contact in the far eastern Aleppo combat sector. Considering that ISIS has been outflanked multiple times since the liberation of Tadef and forced to retreat in the direction of the Maskaneh lowlands in order to avoid complete annihilation, their so-called “withdrawal” could better be described as a general rout whilst their overall military condition as a fighting force in eastern Aleppo could be described as fundamental defeated.
The expulsion of ISIS from Aleppo province is now a real prospect. That this may happen or not revolves around the ability of the Syrian Arab Army to maintain this protracted offensive, whilst ISIS for its part, being both outnumbered and outgunned, has very little say in this matter.