On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn” in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.
The US and the Kurds continue in turn to expand the bridgehead on the southern Bank of the Euphrates, and continued to occupy towns in the assumption of Raqqa. The supply of equipment for SDF/YPG are continuing, in desert areas, where the actions of mobile groups, small arms and ammunition dropped from a military transport aircraft. Operations of US special forces supported by helicopters and planes with bases in Rojava. In General, everything goes in line with the old trends associated with the creation of operational assumptions associated with the assault on Raqqa. Formerly the deadline is obviously frustrated that the Caliphate can certainly burn itself into an asset, but strategically it doesn’t change anything. Winning 1-2 months is unlikely to allow the Caliphate to significantly change the balance of forces around their capital.
Mohannad Ahmed al-Tallaa, the commander of the rebel battalion stationed at Tanf, said they began working with US troops at the base late last year. A former officer in an elite Syrian army unit, he defected early in the civil war and has been a vital player in the rebel fight in Deir Ezzor, a province in eastern Syrian that has become a major ISIS stronghold. He created the battalion, called Maghaweir Al-Thowra, or Commandos of the Revolution, with the aim of working with the US-backed coalition to free Deir Ezzor from ISIS, he said, adding that he and his men now live with their US partners. “I’m sitting with them right now,” he said when reached by phone on Tuesday night; men with American accents could be heard speaking English in the background.
It is obvious that preparations are underway for hostilities against the Caliphate (the regrouping of troops and creation of strike groups requires a certain time), which we will see in the second half of may-early June. As the primary tasks is to sweep the area of the base of the Giro and promotion along the banks of the Euphrates to the administrative borders of Raqqa province + creation of prerequisites for the development of the offensive from the area Itree. Simultaneously, we can expect offensive operations to the North and South of the highway Ties – Palmyra, as well as the mounting of the strike group in the area of the Palmyra, for the ambitious offensive operations in the direction of Deir ez-Zor.
The Syrian army continues to develop the successful attack East of Aleppo. One group comes along the banks of the Euphrates to the administrative borders of the province of Raqqa, along the way, pushing the militants in the South.
In turn, the formation of SDF/YPG continues to advance toward the Euphrates to the East of Raqqa. The city itself is actively not touched – the main effort concentrated on the capture of key towns, roads and bridges on the Euphrates, that is guaranteed to cut through the logistics of militants between Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor.
The enemy lost the town took up defensive positions in the mountainous terrain to the North from the road Palmyra-Tiyas and providing a flanking effect, inhibits attempts by SAA to move from Palmyra in the direction of Deir ez-Zor. The SAA are therefore forced to spend a portion of their forces on the Northern flank, trying to secure control of the heights and the mountainous area to the North of the road to get there comfortable position for the defense, to do mounted shock troops to advance to Deir-ez-Zor and conduct supporting operations to the North and South of the city…The main problem on both sides, front length is too large for the available forces, therefore, of paramount importance is the ownership of the initiative, which jihadists owned in December-January. Since February, it passed into the hands of the Syrians and their allies, and this was reflected in the operational environment.
Russia in this situation, advocates of Assad, bargaining for a new territorial gains in Northern Syria and striving to achieve interaction between Assad and the Kurds to pull the Kurds out of a too strong alliance with the United States. At this stage, the Kurds have already passed the Syrian army three villages to the southwest of Manbij, but fully buffer zone is still not formed. While to the West of Manbij fighting continues between the Kurds and the FSA, where both parties bear the loss in killed, wounded and prisoners. There are losses in clashes between the SAA and FSA.