Nationwide map of Syria – August 15, 2017
With the arrival of mid-August it is clear that the year-long strategic trend of endless ISIS defeats on the battlefield and rapid territorial retraction continues to remain in full-effect.
In eastern Syria, three massive Syrian Arab Army (SAA) fronts – backed up by allied paramilitary groups – continue to close in on the strategic city of Deir Ezzor from the north, west and south. Whilst the elite Tiger Forces are now within striking distance of Ma’adan town (the last ISIS stronghold in southern Raqqa Governorate), the 5th Assault Corps have liberated al-Sukhnah town (the last ISIS stronghold in eastern Homs Governorate).
In the city of Raqqa itself, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured from ISIS more than 50 percent of the main urban center area and continue to squeeze jihadist fighters into an ever shrinking zone that covers the central and northern suburbs of the city.
In central Syria, pro-government forces are poised to first isolate and then annihilate a large ISIS bastion that embeds itself in a string of settlements throughout the regions of eastern Hama and central Homs Governorates.
Throughout rebel-held Syria the fronts have been relatively quiet with the exception of eastern Damascus where the SAA is engaged in a high-pitched battle against Islamist militants and in the Afrin region where Turkey-led rebels and the Kurdish-led forces are exchanging raids and artillery fire on an almost daily basis. There are also reports that Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham plans to carry out a new offensive operation against pro-government forces in northern Hama Governorate.
Lastly, it appears that the SAA and Hezbollah plan to launch an offensive against the last ISIS bastion which is anchored along the mountainous Syrian-Lebanese border region.