Sitting over 350 meters above sea-level, the relatively small city of Jarabalus overlooks the northwestern bank of the vast Euphrates River that stretches as far north as Turkey and as far east as Iraq.
Besides Jarabalus’ geographical importance; it is the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) last border-crossing along the Euphrates River that leads into Turkey from the Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside.
For months, ISIS has used Jarabalus as their primary source to smuggle their reinforcements and supplies from the Turkish border via supply boats; this could have all been avoided had the terrorist group not destroyed the long suspension bridge that connects the two countries.
Unfortunately for the terrorist group, the loss of the Tal Abyad border-crossing into Turkey to the predominately Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was detrimental to the ISIS fighters entrenched inside the provincial capital of Al-Raqqa.
With no direct supply route leading to Al-Raqqa from Turkey, ISIS has been forced to rely on Jarabalus in order to resupply on provisions.
Now, the YPG prepares for another offensive in northern Aleppo; however, this time, the predominately Kurdish militia faces a potential redline from their allies in the Free Syrian Army.
Jarabalus is a predominately Arab city; if captured and linked with the YPG’s supply route in the Afrin Canton, the Arab tribes that fight alongside of them may have a serious issue with what they deem as an “imperialistic” endeavor by the Kurds.
The positive outcome of the Jarabalus offensive may outweigh the strained relations with the Arab tribes, but the YPG is in for a violent fight with the ISIS terrorists entrenched inside because they are unlikely to withdraw without resisting.
The battle has yet to start and there has been no formal announcement from the YPG; but, ISIS has to be concerned over the future of their presence along the Turkish border.