Thursday, June 8, 2017

Syria Situation Report: June 1 - 8, 2017

By ISW Syria Team and Syria Direct

The U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched operations to seize full control of Ar-Raqqa City from ISIS. The SDF formally announced the start of clearing operations along three axes and later entered an outlying district of Ar-Raqqa City. Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) Commander Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend predicted a “long and difficult fight” for the city but stressed that the offensive would “deliver a decisive blow” to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has fortified Ar-Raqqa City to a level similar to Mosul in Northern Iraq with the likely intent to inflict heavy casualties upon the SDF. ISIS has also reportedly redeployed a large portion of its leadership and external attack capabilities to Deir ez-Zour Province in Eastern Syria, limiting the strategic impact of operations against Ar-Raqqa City.

The U.S. demonstrated its continued intent to defend its operations in Southern Syria. The U.S. conducted a second airstrike targeting a pro-regime convoy advancing against opposition groups backed by the U.S. and Jordan at Al-Tanaf on the Syrian-Iraqi Border. The incident follows a similar strike against a pro-regime convoy near Al-Tanaf on 18 MAY. The U.S. stressed that the Anti-ISIS Coalition does “not seek to fight” pro-regime forces but reiterated its willingness to “defend itself” if pro-regime forces fail to depart a “well-established deconfliction zone” in Southern Syria. Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will likely continue to challenge the Anti-ISIS Coalition along the Iraqi-Syrian Border to preempt any long-term expansion by the U.S. in Eastern Syria.

This graphic marks the latest installment of our Syria SITREP Map made possible through a partnership between the Institute for the Study of War and Syria Direct. This graphic depicts significant recent developments in the Syrian Civil War. The control of terrain represented on the graphic is accurate as of May 31, 2017.