Daesh launched recently a large-scale offensive in which they targeted main Assad’s forces controlled areas in Deir Ezzor, including the besieged neighborhoods, the Talai’ Camp, Brigade 137, the Jafra village and the military airport. It is the biggest attack the organization has ever launched since the capturing of the province in the year of 2014.
The organization relied on deception and surprise as military tactics in the latest attack, using a new tactic different from the previous ones that had been utilized in previous assaults in the province. Daesh did not start with suicide VBIED operations. They used deception by luring the regime forces into believing that they were attacking them in a certain area while, at the same time, they mobilized their manpower and heavy weapons on a different front, where they attacked and stormed positions of their enemy. This was the case in the attack on the Jafra village near the airport.
Assad’s forces were tricked into believing that Daesh were on their way to attack the Jafra village, therefore, they brought in reinforcement and concentrated their operations in there. However, the organization launched a fierce attack on Brigade 134. They also sent reinforcement to the gates of the military airport, which made their enemy think that they would attack it, but the organization attacked the cemetery area, which overlooks the neighborhoods of Deir Ezzor city, instead.
The also relied on their commando fighters who surprised and attacked Assad’s forces in different areas, paving the way for other fighters to finish them off and capture the targeted areas.
One of the reasons that led to the success of the latest attack was the use of the spoils of war they captured in Palmyra and the deployment of their well-experienced Iraqi special forces to the front lines in the province.
The main strategic goal of the attack was to cut the regime-held pocked in half. In other words, to cut off the regime supply lines in the city and the military airport.
The organization made substantial gains in the attack. They captured several key areas inside the city such as the cemetery area, the Omal Mountain, the Bricks Factories, large parts of the Bur Said Street, which is of significant importance. They also advanced on multiple fronts within the city.
The reasons behind the launching of the offensive are to raise the desperate moral of Daesh fighters who are on the defensive in Iraq, mainly Mosul. It is also a step forward the new developments in Syria, including the ceasefire and its consequences on the group-held areas, which might result in more offensives against them, mainly Deir Ezzor province, which links their held areas in Iraq with those in Syria. This led the organization to fortify its territory in the province by launching the attack that was aimed at the capturing of the entire province, which would then be a strong defensive life and stronghold for it.
They are also searching for supports from anti-Assad locals in Syria such as Idlib by attaining a military victory against Assad’s forces in the province.
If Daesh captures the entire province of Deir Ezzor, it will be very difficult to liberate it. There are also concerns among the civilians that the organization might carry out massacres them if they succeed in advancing to the regime held neighborhoods of the city, which have been under siege for more than 2 years and are home to more than 100 thousand civilians whom the organization see as “apostates” for staying in the lands of “disbelief”, meaning that their blood is justified. The organization is shelling those neighborhoods on a regular basis, which has caused dozens of civilian casualties.