Coalition doubts Syrian government victory over Islamic State, fight continues near Abu Kamal

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


While the Syrian government declared victory over Islamic State in the town of Abu Kamal supposedly liberated in December, coalition strikes continue targeting IS targets near Abu Kamal the last few days and the fight continues in the Deir ar Zour province against remaining IS pockets.

“We are aware that the Syrian regime declared that they had completely liberated Abu Kamal from Daesh control in December 2017. We are also aware of continued intensive fighting between the Syrian regime and Daesh in and around Abu Kamal over the past month. This speaks to the credibility of the regime's public communications campaign,” Coalition Director of Public Affairs, Army Colonel Thomas Veale told The Region.

Army Colonel Thomas Veale also claimed that IS have developed strategies to avoid the forces of both the forces of the coalition and those of the Syrian Government. 
“As you are most likely aware, the Syrian regime’s area of operations is on the western side of the Euphrates River, and Abu Kamal is a city built on the western banks of the Euphrates.  That being said, ISIS does not recognize any demarcation line, and attempts to cross back and forth in order to attempt to evade Coalition or Syrian regime forces that are striking them,” he said.

“The Coalition will continue to strike Daesh wherever and whenever we find them in our area of operations. In the case of Coalition strikes in the vicinity of Abu Kamal over the past two months, we strike Daesh whenever they cross over onto the eastern side of the Euphrates near Abu Kamal,” he added.

Moreover, IS attempts to use boats in the Euphrates rivers in the Deir ar Zour province.

“There have been instances over the past two months when we have stuck Daesh on boats in the Euphrates River as they were attempting to cross. We have not conducted any strikes on the western side of the Euphrates in the vicinity of Abu Kamal in more than two months. The Coalition regularly de-conflicts with the Russians for strikes in this area,” he said.

Also the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continue to fight with IS throughout the Deir ar-Zour province, coalition officials say.

“Progress is continuous, but much hard fighting remains to ensure Daesh's enduring defeat. We are resolved to continue to support our SDF partners in this fight,” the coalition official concluded.

“Well, we'll continue to operate in areas liberated by our partner forces in Syria. And we call upon the Syrian regime to deal with ISIS in areas under their control,” U.K. Army Major General Felix Gedney, Deputy Commander told reporters just before the New Year.

The Russian Foreign Ministry have in turn questioned the US presence in Syria as unjustifiable and Syrian officials have called on US troops to leave the country.