Sunday, April 23, 2017

Guess Who's Coming to Deir ez-Zur?

Under American-orchestrated pressure at Raqqa, ISIL has moved its capital in Syria southeast:

In the wake of increased airstrikes and pressure applied from three directions by U.S.-backed Syrian forces, the Islamic State has essentially moved its so-called capital in Syria, U.S. defense officials told Fox News.

ISIS is now centered in Deir ez-Zur, roughly 90 miles southeast of Raqqa, the officials said.

Which is interesting when you consider that Assad has forces there under siege.

Will ISIL launch an assault to wipe out those defenders to cleanse their new capital?

Or is this just an interim move to just going underground as a terrorist organization?

Here's a CRS overview of the civil war+.

UPDATE: US-backed forces advancing around Tabqa may accelerate the ISIL shift east:

A US-backed alliance of Arab-Kurdish forces entered the key jihadist-held town of Tabqa on Monday as they pursued their campaign against the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

The really interesting part comes when Russia- and Iran-supported Assad decides that he should move into the area that ISIL is being pushed out of.