Daesh has conducted manoeuvres to make a resurgence in Syria today by besieging Russian and regime forces, attacking a prominent Kurdish militia and capturing a town in the east of the country, fulfilling recent predictions of the extremist group’s recuperation in the conflict.
Daesh militants attacked a gathering of regime militias and Russian special forces in the ancient town of Palmyra through the use of a booby-trapped car filled with explosives, as well as surrounding a Russian convoy and besieging it. The militant group’s own media outlet named Amaq News Agency then allegedly reported that planes launched heavy shelling on its positions in an attempt to break the siege.
In the Raqqa countryside – home to Daesh’s former capital – the group claimed responsibility for killing and wounding five members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in an attack on the militia’s positions. A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) vehicle was also reportedly destroyed by an explosive device near the town of Haws.
In what is the most determinative operation undertaken by the group, however, Daesh has captured and taken full control of the town of Al-Sukhna in the eastern countryside of Homs governate following a series of battles and skirmishes with regime militias in the area. According to Amaq News Agency, Daesh originally took control of Al-Sukhna on Sunday before withdrawing under the pressure of Russian air strikes, but retook control of the town today. Twenty regime militia members were allegedly killed during its recapture, and regime forces continue to be pushed out of the town’s surroundings.
The resurgence of Daesh – also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – comes amid recent warnings from a variety of international sources that the group would soon make a resurgence and that it has been planning a comeback, particular through the use of its imprisoned fighters throughout the region.
Two years after its rapid expansion in 2014 and its capture of vast swathes of the Levant, the lost group lost significant territory as a result of an international coalition in which saw both local and foreign actors fight against it. It gradually lost control of its major strongholds including Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Only scattered sleeper cells now exist around the region.
The group’s re-emergence is particularly seen in the light of US President Donald Trump’s announcement in December last year that US troops will be withdrawn from Syria due to the alleged defeat of Daesh and the recapture of its strongholds in the region. This complacency on the part of the president was met with widespread disagreement among US political and military figures, as well as the Kurdish groups who rely on Washington for military support, insisting that there would be a risk of Daesh re-emerging if American forces pulled out of the region.
A Pentagon report released in early August warned the group is recuperating and regathering forces, and that “Despite losing its territorial ‘caliphate’ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was re-surging in Syria.”
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