Significant weekend gains saw Syrian troops, who attacked ISIS in the Hama Province, gaining ground quickly and pushing into the southern part of Raqqa Province. ISIS appears to have been taken by surprise by this push, which added yet another front to their war.
Reports today suggest ISIS is responding with a violent counterattack, striking army positions in Hama Province and cutting roads in the east, in an effort to slow the military’s offensive. The Syrian military now says it is focused on building force along the Raqqa border, and not advancing into the province anymore.
ISIS had already been defending itself from an offensive by the Kurdish YPG in the northern part of Raqqa, and trying to run a concurrent offensive of their own further west in Aleppo. The push by the military against southern Raqqa threatens to cut the ISIS supply line into their de facto capital, the city of Raqqa.
Reports have suggested that the Syrian troops are ultimately trying to reclaim Tabqa, which is both strategically valuable because of its location along the highway, and because of the nearby air base, which they had previously lost to ISIS. With ISIS facing so many fights at once, such a loss could be a major one.
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