Heavy fighting on Friday and Saturday in Syria’s Deir Ezzor Province has left at least 40 fighters from US-backed Kurdish forces dead, and an unknown number of them captured by ISIS. ISIS has also recaptured some territory previously lost in the fighting.
This was a continuation of an ISIS counter-attack launched in response to several offensives by the Kurdish YPG against their last two towns in a remote border region. The goal appears to have been to stop some advancing Kurdish forces, and to retake some lost land in the area.
US officials downplayed the seriousness of the losses, saying that ISIS took advantage of a sandstorm, and that both sides had taken massive numbers of casualties. The US also intends to increase airstrikes against ISIS.
ISIS has regularly taken advantage of difficult terrain and the weather in the area to counter-attack when US air support is not available. On the ground, the Kurdish forces appear to struggle to make any gains.
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