The International Anti-Daesh Coalition have launched intensive air strikes against the bridges and routes situated in the province of Deir Ezzor, which destroyed many of them so far, on top of them: Al-Bukamal Bridge, Al-Mayadin Bridge and Al-Ashara Bridge. Several of the highways and alternative roads were also targeted and destroyed in the countryside of Deir Ezzor. The destructive and systematic air raids on the bridges and highways, which have knocked many of them out of commission, have played a significant role in the sky-high increase of food prices which, both Al-Bukamal and Mayadin cities, are now facing.
The continuous air strikes on the bridges and roads in Deir Ezzor are a direct outcome of the Coalition’ strategy to cut off the Daesh’ supply routes which link between Iraq and Syria. This also comes amid reports of the Turkish army mobilizing its forces along the border with Tel Abyad, which is under the control of the SDF, following a Turkish-American agreement on the battle of Raqqa, as stated by some media outlets. In the meantime, the participation of the SDF in the battle remains open to question, mainly in light of the Turkish intervention in northern Aleppo against the SDF, which forced the latter to retreat from several areas in the region.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army is gearing up for a large-scale offensive to retake control on the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul, which have been under Daesh control for more than two years. The Iraqi prime minister paid a visit to Washington to discuss and seek more support for the offensive from the USA. Concerning the Peshmerga, their participation in the offensive remain unclear to the very moment.
The American president Obama wants to regain control on both, Raqqa and Mosul, from Daesh before the end of his presidency, which is set to end on January 20, 2017. A part of his strategy to cripple Daesh is to destroy the key routes and bridges which facilitate its movements between Iraq and Syria, mainly those located in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. Al-Bukamal city has become of momentous importance for the group since the barricades located in the province which separate Syria from Iraq were removed in 2014.
The destruction of the bridges have not crippled the organization’s activities between the banks of the Euphrates, as it is now utilizing boats to transport its manpower, even though they cannot be used for the transportation of heavy vehicles. It is expected that the organization might attempt to repair the collapsed bridges using primitive methods, which would not be effective if an offensive was launched against Raqqa or Mosul.