Daesh Raids in Eastern Syria Remain a Persistent Threat

first published on May 31, 2018 by

Surrounded in a few desert enclaves, daesh raids in eastern Syria remain a persistent threat for Kurdish and Syrian forces. A recent surge in militant hit-and-run attacks on both sides of the Euphrates river interrupt supply lines and further fuel the tensions between rival factions in the region.

The remnants of the so-called Islamic State have had a slight resurgence in early 2018 – stepping up hit-and-run attacks and releasing propaganda footage of the multiple incidents. After the fall of Mosul in Iraq, quickly followed by Raqqa in Syria, the majority of ISIS controlled territory was largely liberated by the Assad regime and Kurdish militias. ISIS was, with a few exceptions, largely driven into several desert enclaves in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

In this aftermath the forces loyal to the Assad regime, the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and the various Syrian rebel groups greedily gobbled up territory from the defeated Islamist menace. Simultaneously, the forces loyal to the regime began shifting around the country clearing pocket after pocket of scattered rebel resistance in the countryside and Damascus suburbs. Adding to this increasingly complex scenario, the Turkish invasion of Afrin earlier this year would embroil the Kurd’s in a major operation and draw their attention from the seemingly defeated daesh remnants.

As this competition between this myriad of factions for territory continued, the desert hideouts and strip of land along the Euphrates of the surviving daesh territoy were mostly bypassed and ignored. Largely believed to be defeated and possessing enough weapons and equipment to remain a military threat, the extremist’s bided their time in the vast Syrian desert as focuses shifted elsewhere.

The video below documents one of these recent resurgent daesh raids in eastern Syria – north of the Euphrates river and Deir ez-Zor in SDF held territory. Far removed from the days of captured tanks and Humvees, the extremists launch from their desert hideaway in improvised armored vehicles and heavy machine-gun armed technicals. They attack a surprisingly lightly defended and isolated SDF outpost.

They quickly advance through the open terrain, wildly firing at the Kurds and driving within a few hundred meters of the defensive berms. The SDF position is comprised of several outlying outposts and the Kurds appear to attempt a rescue of one OP with a Humvee during initial daesh attack. However, they are quickly turned back and hit with a guided missile. Daesh continues to press and eventually overwhelms the defenses. The militants immediately begin pilfering gear and set fire what remains. The surviving SDF troops mange to escape into the distance thanks to the piss-poor shooting skills of daesh. With the base ablaze, they vanish back into the barren desert.


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