In early September, the Kurdish YPG launched an offensive against a pair of towns in northeastern Syria termed the “last” ISIS-held territory. Officials claim 211 ISIS and 113 Kurds have been killed since then.
US Marines are now being sent into the area to join the ground offensive. Previously, the US was offering only air support. This is the first ground troop deployment of this latest military push.
Most ISIS fighters in Syria are not in these remaining towns, around Hajin. Rather, the vast majority are operating in the deserts around Deir Ezzor Province. This allows them to move around at will, avoiding airstrikes, and to ambush patrols as an opportunity presents itself.
ISIS lost all of its towns and cities along the Euphrates River over the past year, but have moved around, taking occasional control of more remote towns. Even if this offensive is successful, it probably won’t be an enduring loss for ISIS forces in Syria.