Syrian Kurdish Forces Enter Deir Ezzor Province, Aiming to Surround Raqqa

Province Is Almost Exclusively Under ISIS Control

Syrian Kurdish forces with the YPG have announced today that they entered the eastern Deir Ezzor Province “for the first time” during the civil war, and are attempting to take some of the area bordering Raqqa Province as part of their plan to surround the ISIS capital city.

Deir Ezzor is overwhelmingly ISIS controlled, though government forces retain a fraction of the provincial capital, and a single airbase in the province, despite several recent ISIS pushes against them. The oil-rich province amounts to some of ISIS’ most secure territorial possessions, and the invasion will likely provoke a quick reaction.

Kurdish forces had taken a pair of villages in Raqqa Province along the border on Friday, and the incursion was expected to come after that.  Kurdish forces first started attacking Raqqa back in December, with US officials saying they would quickly surround the city.

The effort has been anything but quick, with a series of Raqqa villages along the northernmost part of the province falling fairly quick, but little effort made so far to surround any of the other directions leading out of the ISIS capital.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.