BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 P.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIS) is far from defeated in Syria, despite the recent statements from the U.S. and Russian presidents.
While most of their so-called ‘caliphate’ has been liberated, the Islamic State still clings onto several areas across Syria.
Among these areas still occupied by ISIS are southwestern Dara’a (Yarmouk Basin region), western and eastern Deir Ezzoz, and southern Damascus (Yarmouk Camp, Al-Qadam, Tadamon, Hajar Al-Aswad).
Making matters more complicated is the fact that the anti-ISIS forces in these areas are all opposed to one another, which rules out joint offensives against the terrorist group.
Furthermore, the Syrian Army and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were able to capture most of the ISIS-held territory last year because they could force the terrorist group to retreat to the vast Badiya region of eastern Syria.
Had the Syrian Army rejected the terrorist group’s requests of being transported to the Badiya region, the battles for the ISIS strongholds of ‘Uqayribat in eastern Hama or Al-Sukhnah in eastern Homs would have been incredibly costly for the government.
With thousands of fighters remaining and no place to retreat, it will be very difficult to upend the Islamic State from these regions in Syria.