January 22, 2018 - 14:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A bloody stalemate between U.S.-backed forces (of which Kurdish units form a key component) and the Islamic State group has assumed throughout eastern Syria after a month-and-a-half of high-pitched operations, Al-Masdar News says in an article.
The last six weeks has witnessed pro-Coalition forces attempt to expel Islamic State militants from the eastern shore of the Euphrates River in the province of Deir ez-Zor with tactically mixed but ultimately unsuccessful results.
Despite capturing about a dozen villages as well as the Shaitat tribal region, the push by U.S.-led forces to seize the major Islamic State strongholds of Gharanij, Haijin and Ash-Sha’fah has failed.
Gharanij in particular has switched hands three or four times in the last month; every time pro-Coalition fighters have taken the fortress town to date, ISIS has counter-attacked with car bombs and fighters using tunnels for mobility.
At the same time, ISIS launched its own counter-offensive in the last week, attempting to use bad weather conditions as a means to negate Coalition airpower.
It is unclear if some villages were retaken or not, however, overall the terrorist group has failed to achieve real breakthroughs that threaten the presence of US-backed forces in Deir Ezzor province.
What both side have managed to achieve is inflicting very high casualties on each other and (due to reckless operational practices) on themselves. The kill count of the last six weeks runs into the hundreds (per belligerent) and whilst airstrikes have been the main cause for ISIS deaths, car bomb attacks have been the core source for loss of life among the ranks of Coalition-led paramilitary groups.