Repeated reports over the past week had Syrian government forces nearing the important town of Tabqa, and by the weekend they were no more than 20 km away. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, ISIS has counterattacked.
Described as a “lightning counterattack” which began Sunday night, ISIS forces killed dozens of troops, and quickly chased them westward out of the Raqqa Province. This is actually the second time they’ve turned the tables on Syrian forces in this offensive.
Two weeks ago, ISIS used a suicide car bombing and a push against forces in the neighboring Hama Province to cut off supplies from the attacking forces and mostly forced the Syrian troops to back up to the Hama-Raqqa border, where they find themselves once again.
The Syrian offensive was initially meant to create a “third front” for ISIS forces in the area, as they fight in northern Raqqa against the Kurds, and in neighboring Aleppo against rival rebels, though ISIS has since abandoned the Aleppo offensive to focus on defense.