ISIS Launches Offensive in Southeast Syria, Killing 23 Kurdish Fighters

ISIS uses sandstorm to amass gains around Sousseh

ISIS forces have been launching a counter-offensive in southeastern Syria since Sunday, using a sandstorm as an opportunity to regain lost territory around the town of al-Sousseh. At least 23 Kurdish fighters were killed in the fighting.

Sousseh is one of three towns being contested in the last several months between ISIS forces and US-backed Kurdish fighters. Though the Kurds have repeatedly seized the towns, and adjoining villages, they’ve never held them for more than a few days.

Weather is usually a factor. While the US has provided the Kurds substantial air support, mostly airstrikes against the towns, and despite a lot of civilian casualties resulting, it seems without these, ISIS counterattacks are generally successful.

This likely reflects the large number of ISIS fighters in the deserts around the area. Though the towns only have small defensive forces, most of the ISIS remnant hides in the desert to avoid airstrikes, and comes out for attacks of opportunity.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.