“Exclusive to SyrPer” by Canthama
Eastern Aleppo Province
Latest news from this front line depicts a general collapse by ISIS terrorists in the north, south and west of Dayr Haafir, paving the way for its liberation. The importance of this city for ISIS is similar to Al-Baab, Manbij or Maskana. Losing this town will have a serious impact all the way down to Raqqa, Hama and Homs Provinces.
After the last few days of preparing and planning, yesterday and today, the Tiger Forces and allies have liberated several villages, closing in on the gates of Dayr Haafir. The villages liberated so far are:
- Tell Khassaf
- Al Kiyariyah
- Umm Tinah
- Al Mab’uja
- Umm al Mara
The battle for Dayr Haafir is centered on the control of the 4 villages with hills surrounding the city. They are Tal Soos (NE), Ahmadiyya (NW), Tal ‘Akoola (SE) and Umm Al-Maara (SW). So far, the southwestern village of Umm Maara and its hill were liberated. With that, the Tiger Forces and allies control the highest hill overlooking the city, and reports of combat are on-going at Ahmadiyyah, northwest of the city.
The city of Deir Hafer is heading toward being cut off from N4 which would either force ISIS to retreat or to be fully besieged. ISIS continues to pour terrorists into its defenses. Most recently, hundreds of Jund Al- Aqsaa terrorists were sent to defend the town. This is the very group that was expelled by Al-Qaeda from Idlib and reached ISIS lines, most likely through Turkey before Al-Baab and was captured by the Turkish-backed terrorists.
Expect multiple villages to be liberated in the next few days with special attention on the battles for Tal Soos, Jannat Salaama and Lalat Muhammad. Their liberation will mean Dayr Haafir is locked down.
The strategic importance of Dayr Haafir is not only linked to the fact it is an important city for it holds another gateway to advance toward Maskana and Raqqa, through the eastern side of Lake Jabbool. It would create a new front line for ISIS to defend, and in turn, weaken ISIS at the newly-liberated Jiraah airbase. That would be a very delicate defensive position to hold.
53 green buses headed to Al Wa’er to collect and evacuate the terrorists and their families, estimated at 1,500-2,000, have arrived. From these numbers, some 400-450 are believed to be terrorists. First batch is leaving today to Idlib and another group to Jaraablus. (Ziad disagrees about Jaraablus because a condition of the agreement was that the terrorists not be sent to any area controlled by Turkish forces.)
The battles have intensified lately, with ISIS pouring more terrorists into the fray in order to build on their gains during December and January. So far, all recent attempts have failed, which in part created an opportunity for the SAA, NDF and local tribes to advance toward positions previously held by ISIS since January.
Dayr El-Zor is getting a lot of ISIS attention since the fall in Mosul, Tal ‘Afar, Al-Baab, Palmyra and now Dayr Haafir. The offensive toward Raqqa will intensify in April, adding more pressure on ISIS. By then Maskana will have beeen liberated, as well. There will be very few places for ISIS to hold as a temporary capital, hence the importance of Dayr El-Zor to them.
Based on this perspective, ISIS positions in eastern Hama and central Homs will most likely receive a lot of attention from the Syrian High Command. Clearly, an offensive in these areas would create panic among ISIS terrorists and their families. They would be pushed toward the desert and with few places to stay in a forced migration through the desert back to the border with Iraq and Jordan. This is why the defense of Dayr El-Zor is so vital for the Syrian Government. It is at the core of ISIS’s future.