(Photo Credit: AFP)
The Syrian government is concentrating its forces in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa governorates to mobilize for a major military operation in the Badia region to clear existing ISIS pockets in the desert.
The report about the mobilization was published by Al-Monitor, which spoke to local media sources on 5 October.
The sources revealed that the request for the operation was made by the Russian Federation in coordination with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In accordance with the news, the Russian air force struck several targets of the Islamic State near Jabal al-Bishri over the past few days.
“The goal of the military operation is to secure certain axes in the Badia, such as the Jabal al-Amour area in Homs countryside, where ISIS is active. It also aims to secure the Raqqa-Rusafa axis. Over the past weeks, ISIS has intensified its activities against the regime forces around the vicinity of the Tabqa airport in the countryside of Raqqa. But given the complex geographical nature of these areas, all ISIS operations recently consisted of booby-traps and ambushes, making it difficult for the regime to dodge them,” Zain al-Abidin al-Akeidi, a journalist from the Deir Ezzor, told Al-Monitor.
“ISIS is short on members in the Badia areas. It is mainly relying on ambush operations and is no longer able to launch large-scale military operations,” he added.
The operations come in light of recent mediation attempts by the Russian government between Syria and Turkey, freeing up troops from the Idlib area in the north of Syria for the large-scale military operation in the Syrian desert, despite Damascus denying mending ties with Turkey.
However, because ISIS has no longer a base of operation, but instead resorts to guerrilla warfare tactics with swift hit and runs on military and government targets, the success of the operation remains to be seen.
Abbas Sharifa, an expert on radical Islamic groups and researcher at the Jusoor Center for Studies in Istanbul, told the news outlet that he expects the limited success of the operation, because “ISIS cells carry light weapons and move very easily.”