“The ISIL now faces a serious threat to its capital, Raqqa city,” the sources said, adding, “However, the more immediate objective seems to be the capture of al-Tabaqa Airbase or a push Northwards to the Euphrates River; the latter move would have all ISIL-held areas in the Aleppo province cut off from the ISIL mainland.”
“In the past week, about 100 ISIL fighters have been killed in Western Raqqa while government forces have advanced 45 kilometers along the Ithriya-Raqqa road,” the sources added.
“With the ISIL capital under increasing pressure, the group’s commanders are forced to prioritize their scarce manpower between the Manbij frontline and the Western Raqqa frontline,” they went on to say.
Reports said on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops and their popular allies continued to drive the ISIL terrorists back from two more key villages in al-Tabaqa region and deployed their fighters only five kilometers far from al-Resafeh gas field.
The Syrian government forces pushed the ISIL back from their strongholds near the villages of Khirbet Zeidan and Madakheh, which not only resulted in the liberation of the villages and claimed the lives of at least 35 militant but gave this upper hand to the Syrian army to deploy forces to the distance only five kilometers away from the gas-rich al-Resafeh region.
Military sources said that the Syrian army is resolved to capture al-Tabaqa airbase in its first phase of operation and then rush towards Raqqa city.
In case of defeating the ISIL and capture of Raqqa by the Syrian army, the ISIL supply and communication lines from Syrian to Turkey will be completely cut off, which means there will be no further smuggling of oil to Turkey from Syria.