US BUFFER ZONE IN NORTHEASTERN SYRIA AND LAND-BRIDGE FROM TEHRAN TO BEIRUT

24.11.2017

Written by Elijah J. MagnierOriginally appeared in Arabic at alraimedia.com and in English HERE;

Following the victory of the Syrian army and its allies over the “Islamic State” group in the town of Albu Kamal in the north-east of the country, the road has been opened for the first time since the declaration of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut and become safe and non-hostile to the four capitals and their rulers.

The United States tried to block the road between Tehran and Beirut at the level of Albu Kamal by forcing the Kurdish forces into a frantic race, but Washington failed to achieve its goals.

US Buffer Zone In Northeastern Syria And Land-Bridge From Tehran To Beirut

Click to see the full-size map

The Syrian Army along with allied forces (the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba’) liberated the city, opening the border with Iraq at al-Qa’im crossing. ISIS militants fled to the Iraqi al-Anbar desert and east of the Euphrates River where US and Kurdish forces are operating.

The United States established a new rule of engagement in the east of the Euphrates, informing the Russian forces that it will not accept any ground forces (the Syrian army and its allies) east of the Euphrates River and that it will bomb any target approaching the east of the river even if the objective of the ground forces was to pursue ISIS.

Thus, the US is establishing a new undeclared no-fly-zone without bothering to deny that this can serve ISIS forces east of the Euphrates and offer the terrorists a kind of protection. Moreover, the US-led international coalition air bombing against ISIS has reduced noticeably.

With this US warning, it is clear that Washington is declaring the presence of an occupying force in Syria, particularly as the presence of the coalition was linked to fighting ISIS as previously announced. Today ISIS has lost all cities under its occupation since July 2014 in Iraq and before this date in Syria. Therefore there is no legal reason for the presence of the US forces in the Levant.

By becoming an occupation force, the US troops expose themselves, along with the proxy Kurds operating under its command, to attacks similar to the one in Iraq and the one in Lebanon in 1982 during the Israeli invasion.

The United States will no longer be able to block the Iraqi-Syrian road (Al-Qaim-Albu Kamal) because it is related to the sovereignty of the two countries. But this does not mean Tehran will use this route to send weapons across Baghdad and Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon, for two reasons:

First, Iraq has sovereignty and the Prime Minister Haider Abadi will not allow any Iraqi armed party to keep its weapons because the Iraqi armed forces are responsible for holding security, especially after the defeat of ISIS in all cities.

Abadi’s next step will be to disarm all Iraqi movements and organizations by the year 2018 and most likely after the forthcoming elections in May. According to well-informed sources Iran and the Marjaiya in Najaf (and the majority of the Iraqi parties) want Abadi to be re-elected for another term.

This means that Iraq will not allow its territory to be used to finance non-state actors, even if these have taken part in the elimination of ISIS. Neither will he allow weapons to cross his country to an ally that fought alongside the Iraqi forces – such as Hezbollah – because he is not positioning himself against the United States and the countries of the region. This is not Iraq’s battle.

Secondly, Hezbollah does not need the land route from Tehran to Beirut because the sea and air links with Tehran are open through Syria and from it to Lebanon. Moreover, Hezbollah is no longer in need of additional weapons in Lebanon, especially since the Lebanese-Syrian front is unified against any possible future Israeli war.

As for Syria, the preparations for starting the challenging and complex rounds of negotiation to open the way for political talks have begun in Sochi, Russia. Naturally, these talks are difficult because the United States has demands, as does Turkey, which has shown its intention to stay for a very long in the north of Syria.

In this context, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to prepare for a new constitution, on which work began several months ago. Syrian and international human rights experts and law specialists have been discussing with various groups how to establish new constitutional foundations for Syria, aiming to invite the numerous anti-Damascus parties to lay down their arms and join in the negotiations for the future of Syria.

The only problem remains with al-Qaeda in Bilad al-Sham, and the thousands of foreign fighters in Idlib, waiting for the results of the Turkish-Syrian negotiation.

The war was long and complex, mainly because of shifting alliances. But the peace will be no less complex to construct if future wars based on revenge and a greedy desire for territory are to be avoided.

جسر طهران – بيروت… حقيقي أم وهمي؟

تقرير / منطقة أميركية عازلة شمال شرقي سورية

بعد الانتصار الذي حققه الجيش السوري وحلفاؤه باستعادة مدينة البوكمال السورية شرق البلاد من تنظيم «داعش»، فُتحت الطريق – للمرة الأولى منذ إعلان الجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران العام 1979 – بين طهران وبغداد ودمشق وبيروت وأصبحت آمنة وغير عدائية للعواصم الأربع وحكّامها.

وحاولت الولايات المتحدة قطع الطريق البرية بين طهران – بيروت وإعاقتها عبر البوكمال من خلال دفْع القوات الكردية (قسد) التي تعمل بإمرتها نحو البوكمال في سباقٍ محموم أدى الى فشل واشنطن في تحقيق أهدافها. وقد وصلت القوات السورية ومعها القوات الرديفة (حزب الله اللبناني والحرس الثوري الايراني وحركة النجباء العراقية) الى المدينة وحرّرتْها وفتحتْ الحدود البرية مع العراق، بعدما كانت سيطرت قواته البرية على الحدود من ناحية القائم وطردت «داعش» الذي فرّ رجاله إلى الصحراء العراقية في الأنبار وإلى شرق نهر الفرات حيث توجد القوات الأميركية وتلك الكردية العاملة بإمرتها.

وعملت الولايات المتحدة على إرساء قواعد اشتباك جديدة شرق الفرات، إذ أبلغت الى القوات الروسية انها لن تقبل وجود أي قوى للجيش السوري وحلفائه شرق نهر الفرات وأنها ستقصف أي هدف يقترب من شرق النهر حتى ولو كان الهدف قوات «داعش»، وتالياً فإن أميركا فرضت منطقة حظر طيران من دون الإعلان عنها ولم تُخْفِ حمايتها حتى لقوات «داعش»، وخصوصاً أن وتيرة الغارات الأميركية والتحالف الدولي الذي تقوده واشنطن تراجعتْ في شكل ملحوظ. وبغرض منْع عبور نهر الفرات، تكون أميركا أعلنت عن بقائها في شمال شرقي سورية، الأمر الذي تعتبره دمشق احتلالاً لأن الحرب على «داعش» اقتربت من نهايتها مع خسارة التنظيم كل المدن التي كان يحتلّها في سورية والعراق.

وهذا التوصيف للقوات الأميركية قد يعرّضها ومعها القوات الموالية لها لعمليات شبيهة بتلك التي تعرّضت لها العام 2003 مع بداية احتلالها للعراق وأيضاً العام 1982 في لبنان إبان الاجتياح الاسرائيلي.

ولن تستطيع الولايات المتحدة قفل الطريق العراقي – السوري (القائم – البوكمال) لأن الأمر يتعلق بسيادة البلدين. الا أن هذا لا يعني ان طهران ستستخدم هذه الطريق لعبور الأسلحة الى «حزب الله» لسببين:

اولاً: ان للعراق سيادة وتالياً فإن رئيس الوزراء حيدر العبادي لن يسمح لأي طرف مسلّح عراقي بالوجود في العراق لان القوات المسلحة العراقية كافية للإمساك بالوضع الأمني – خصوصاً بعد إنهاء سيطرة «داعش» على المدن – وتالياً الخطوة التالية للعبادي ستكون سحب السلاح من كل الحركات والتنظيمات العراقية بحلول السنة المقبلة وعلى الأرجح بعد الانتخابات. وعلمت «الراي» أن إيران والمرجعية العليا في النجف وغالبية الأحزاب العراقية تريد التمديد للعبادي لولاية ثانية. وهذا يعني أن العراق لن يسمح بأن تُستخدم أراضيه لتمويل جهات غير حكومية – حتى ولو كانت صديقة وشاركت بالقضاء على «داعش»، مثل «حزب الله» – لانها بهذه الطريقة تضع نفسها بالواجهة ضدّ الولايات المتحدة ودول المنطقة وهذا ما لا تريده بغداد.

ثانياً: لا يحتاج «حزب الله» الى الطريق البرية لأن الخطوط البحرية والجوية مفتوحة عن طريق سورية والداخل اللبناني، إضافة الى ان الحزب لم يعد يحتاج إلى أسلحة إضافية في لبنان، وخصوصاً ان الجبهة اللبنانية – السورية أصبحت موحّدة ضد أي عدوان اسرائيلي محتمل في المستقبل. اما بالنسبة إلى سورية فالتحضيرات لبدء الجولات الصعبة والمعقّدة لفتح الطريق أمام المحادثات السياسية قد بدأت في سوتشي – روسيا، ومن الطبيعي ان تكون هذه المحادثات شاقة لأن الولايات المتحدة لها طلبات وكذلك تركيا التي ثبتت نفسها في المناطق الشمالية لسورية وكأنها باقية لأمد طويل.

وفي هذا السياق فإن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد مستعدّ للتحضير لدستور جديد بدأ العمل من أجله منذ أشهر وقد عُرض على الخبراء الحقوقيين ويُناقَش مع جهات مختلفة لوضع أسس دستورية جديدة لسورية تجبر الأطراف المتنوعة المشارب على إلقاء السلاح. وتبقى عقدة «القاعدة» في بلاد الشام والمقاتلين الأجانب الموجودين بالآلاف في إدلب على حالها في انتظار القرار التركي – السوري في شأن مصيرهم.

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Boukamal and Soleimani at the Arab League meeting البوكمال وسليماني في اجتماع الجامعة العربية

Boukamal and Soleimani at the Arab League meeting

نوفمبر 23, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Many people may be overwhelmed by the accusatory content issued by the Arab Foreign Ministers against Iran, saying that we are in front of the expected escalation, contradicting the basic rules of politics of scrutinizing the content of the call which led eventually to the statement, simply it is nothing. The statement and the decision say many things that affect the Iranian role and Hezbollah, but there are three meaningful sentences that have been canceled from the statement. The first sentence is “According to the aforementioned the Arab countries decide to break their diplomatic relations with Iran” The second sentence is” The Arab League asks the UN Security Council  to classify Iran as an incubator for terrorism and classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist organization” The third sentence is ” The Arab League stops the membership of Lebanon till the Lebanese government distinguishes itself from Hezbollah and takes procedures to prevent its interference in the Arab affairs” These sentences have been formulated and were the origin of the Saudi call for the Arab meeting, and were the reason of the high-ceiling language of the Secretary –General Ahmed Abou Al Ghaith before he discovered that he was reckless, because he was not notified of the variables and what they imposed of new changes.

It was unlucky coincidence in the fortunes of Al-Saud between the holding of their meetings and the repercussions of the resounding victory achieved in Boukamal; the Syrian border city with Iraq, the end of last strongholds of ISIS, in addition to the field role of the leader the General Qassem Soleimani in making this victory. When all the capitals of the world heard the echoes of this victory especially Washington, Paris, London, and Berlin they rushed to call Saudi Arabia to wait and to stay away from the escalation, because their priority has become the victory on ISIS. Europe knows the size and the importance of the role of Iran and Hezbollah in this confrontation, so it prepares itself to open up to the Syrian country according to the same priority despite its media participation through critical political words against what it called the Iranian role and dominance in the region, the Iranian interventions, and the Iranian missile program, but on the basis of sticking to the understanding on the Iranian nuclear file and protecting it. Washington which wanted the Arab meeting to escalate the situation against Iran and Hezbollah as a pressing and bargaining paper on Al Boukamal has been notified of what has happened in the morning so it said that the game is over, there is no justification for more escalation.

Once again it seems that the Gulf is away and separated from what is happening around it, it manages its battles foolishly, it wastes its prestige, status, and money with no achievements, it surrenders to an encouragement that it does not know its direction and objectives, it was surprised with its fall during the developments. This has happened after two months of the war on Yemen, when the Americans said that the deadline has ended, we are going to sign the understanding on the nuclear file, and this has happened with the escalation against Qatar once Russia entered the gas market and the understandings with the Americans about sharing the European market, the Americans said that there is no justification for escalation and we are ready for the mediation. For those who did not understand among the Gulf people and who follow them blindly as some of the Arab governments, the escalation against Iran has US function, tactically it was Boukamal and having control over it through the Kurdish armed groups affiliated to them, but it has ended with the entry of the Syrian army and its allies to it under the leadership of the General Soleimani through an expressive message, which is known well by the Americans, it is related strategically to devote the nuclear understanding with Iran with the Russian-Chinese participation in solving the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

The young people remain young even if they possess hundreds of billions and if they buy whom can think instead of them, the experience of the fall of Kurdistan was a sufficient lesson, wasn’t it?

The tampering with the representation of the Lebanese premiership is a game of adolescents is not it? It will be revealed by the days to come as well as the size of the Saudi losses.

Those who are afraid of wars are reading the plain speech rather than seeing the deep deeds.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

البوكمال وسليماني في اجتماع الجامعة العربية

 

ناصر قنديل

نوفمبر 20, 2017

قد يؤخذ الكثيرون بالمضمون الاتهامي الذي صدر عن وزراء الخارجية العرب بحق إيران، ويقول ها نحن أمام التصعيد المتوقع، مخالفاً أبسط قواعد علم السياسة بالتدقيق في مضمون الدعوة التي خلص إليها البيان إجرائياً، وهي ببساطة لا شيء. فالبيان والقرار يقولان أشياء كثيرة «تشيطن» الدور الإيراني وحزب الله، لكن ثلاث جمل ذات معنى شطبت من البيان، الجملة الأولى، «بناء على ما تقدم تقرر الدول العربية قطع العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع إيران»، والجملة الثانية ذات المعنى «تتوجه الجامعة لمجلس الأمن الدولي لتصنيف إيران كدولة حاضنة للإرهاب وتصنيف حزب الله كمنظمة إرهابية»، والجملة الثالثة ذات المعنى، «تعلّق الجامعة عضوية لبنان لحين تمييز الحكومة اللبنانية نفسها عن حزب الله واتخاذها إجراءات تمنع تدخلاته بالشأن العربي». وهي جمل تمت صياغتها وكانت في أصل الدعوة السعودية المرفقة بالطبل والزمر للاجتماع العربي، وسبب اللغة العالية السقف للأمين العام أحمد أبو الغيط، قبل أن يكتشف أنه تهوّر وذهب بعيداً، لأنه لم تتم إحاطته بالمتغيرات وما فرضته من تبديل.

تزامن غير موفق في حظوظ آل سعود، بين انعقاد اجتماعهم وتداعيات الانتصار المدوّي الذي تحقّق في مدينة البوكمال السورية الحدودية مع العراق، ونهاية آخر معاقل داعش، والدور الميداني القيادي للجنرال قاسم سليماني في صناعة هذا النصر. فعندما وصلت الأصداء إلى عواصم العالم وخصوصاً في واشنطن وباريس ولندن وبرلين، تساقطت على رؤوس السعوديين الاتصالات التي تدعو للتريّث والابتعاد عن التصعيد: أوروبا لأن أولويتها باتت الانتصار على داعش، وهي تدرك حجم وأهمية دور إيران وحزب الله في هذه المواجهة، وتستعدّ للإنفتاح على الدولة السورية وفقاً للأولوية ذاتها، رغم مشاركتها الإعلامية في الكلام السياسي الانتقادي لما تسمّيه الدور والنفوذ الإيرانيين في المنطقة، أو التدخلات الإيرانية، والبرنامج الصاروخي لإيران، لكن على قاعدة التمسّك بالتفاهم على ملف إيران النووي، وحمايته، لكن واشنطن التي كانت تريد الاجتماع العربي التصعيدي بوجه إيران وحزب الله ورقة ضغط ومساومة على البوكمال، تبلغت ما جرى صباحاً، فقالت، انتهت اللعبة، فلا مبرر للمزيد.

مرة أخرى يبدو تهافت التهافت الخليجي، بعيداً عن الواقع ومنعزلاً عما يجري حوله، فيدير معاركه ببلاهة دونكيشوتية، تحارب طواحين الهواء، تهدر مهابتها ومكانتها وأوراقها وأموالها، بلا إنجازات، تستسلم لتشجيع لا تعلم مداه وأهدافه، وتفاجأ بسقوطه مع التطورات. هكذا جرى بعد شهرين من حرب اليمن، قال الأميركيون انتهت المهلة ونحن ذاهبون لتوقيع التفاهم على الملف النووي. وهكذا جرى مع التصعيد بوجه قطر، بمجرد دخول روسيا على الخط من بوابة سوق الغاز والتفاهمات مع الأميركيين حول تقاسم السوق الأوروبية، قال الأميركيون لا مبرّر لتصعيد ونحن مستعدون للوساطة. ولمَن لم يفهم من الخليجيين ومن يسير وراءهم ببلاهمة عمياء من بعض الحكومات العربية، التصعيد بوجه إيران له وظيفة أميركية، تكتيكياً كانت موضوع البوكمال، والإمساك بها بواسطة الجماعات الكرديّة المسلحة التابعة لهم، وانتهت بدخول الجيش السوري وحلفائه إليها يتقدمهم الجنرال سليماني برسالة معبّرة، يفهمها الأميركيون جيداً، واستراتيجياً تتصل بربط تكريس التفاهم النووي مع إيران بمشاركة روسية صينية في حلّ الأزمة النووية مع كوريا الشمالية.

الصغار يبقون صغاراً ولو امتلكوا مئات المليارات، واشتروا بها مَن يفكّر لهم، أليست عبرة كافية تجربة سقوط كردستان؟

أليس العبث بما تمثله رئاسة الحكومة اللبنانية لعب مراهقين ستكشفه الأيام وتظهر حجم الخسائر السعودية فيه؟

الخائفون من حروب هم أيضاً يقرأون ظاهر الكلام ولا يرون عميق الأفعال.

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Debate: The end of Daesh and its caliphate

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – NOVEMBER 20, 2017: GOVERNMENT TROOPS LIBERATED AL-BUKAMAL FROM ISIS

South Front

On November 19, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias restored control over the border city of al-Bukamal after a week of intense fighting with ISIS terrorists there. The Russian Aerospace Forces actively supported the SAA advance.

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General, Qasem Soleimani, was also filmed in the city. Earlier, the Hezbollah-linked TV channel Al Mayadeen claimed that Soleimani was a commander of the entire al-Bukamal operation.

According to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria, about 150 ISIS members had fled al-Bukamal through the Euphrates River. Some of them reportedly surrendered to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

On the same day, the SAA Tiger Forces advanced further along the western bank of the Euphrates. Government troops captured the villages of Kashmah and Salihiyah and besieged ISIS units in the area between al-Mayadin and Kashmah.

The SDF captured the town of Shu’aytat and the nearby points on the eastern back of the Euphrates. Pro-government sources claimed that the SDF was able to do this thanks to a deal with local ISIS members, led by Abu Talhat al-Mohajer.

In northern Hama, the SAA entered into the villages of Shakhtir and Abu Dali and Balil Hill, which had been controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies. An intense fighting is ongoing.

Pro-HTS sources claimed that militants destroyed a BMP-1 vehicle and a battle tank of the SAA during the clashes.

In Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, clashes continued between the SAA and Ahrar al-Sham in the Armored Vehicle Base where government troops re-established control over the command section and the section 446. Thus, the SAA reversed the key militant gains in the area.

In southern Syria, the SAA entered into the villages of Kafr Hawar, Bayt Sabir, Baytima and established control over them. HTS militants had withdrawn from the area thanks to the SAA actions and protests of the locals.

Israel responded to the SAA operations with two shelling incidents from its battle tanks. The first took place on November 18. The second was reported on November 20. The SAA suffered no casualties. Tel Aviv is upset that the Syrian government is restoring control over the areas previously seized by militants.

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Hezbollah, Syrian Army Liberate Al-Bukamal, ISIL’s Last Bastion in Syria

November 19, 2017

Syrian army 222

Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies managed on Sunday to regain the entire city of Al-Bukamal from ISIL terrorist group, killing 50 militants.

150 other ISIL militants, including the two commanders “Abu Hasan Al-Iraqi” and Saddam al-Jamal, escaped the battlefield in the city through tunnels into the eastern of Euphrates as some of them turned themselves into the US-backed SDF troops.

It’s worth noting that Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies had launched an intensive campaign against ISIL terrorists to liberate Al-Bukamal city, which is the takfiri’s last bastion in Syria.

The Syrian army and allies also regained control over villages of Haran and Hardaneh in the northeastern countryside of Hama province from Nusra Terrorists.

Source: Al-Manar Website

MAP UPDATE: SYRIAN TROOPS RESTORING CONTROL OVER AL-BUKAMAL, ADVANCING IN EUPHRATES VALLEY

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Thanks to Syrian & Iraqi Armies, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, ISIS Defeated In Syria And Iraq

By Pepe Escobar

Information Clearing House” –  Two days ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), supported by Russian air power, finally took control of Albu Kamal – the last Daesh base in the Syria/Iraq border.

One week ago, the Iraqi Army and the PMUs reconquered al-Qaim, on their side of the border. Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the legendary PMU commander, previously had told a small group of us in Baghdad that would happen “in a matter of days”.

It ended up being four – to be exact.

The Syrian forces will now be redeployed northwest, towards Idlib, the last “moderate rebel” stronghold of that thing called Syrian Conquest Front, a.k.a. Nusra Front, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria.

The key point is that Syrian and Iraqi forces have met at the border – with defeated Daesh jihadis scurrying around or turned into roadkill.

This is History in the making.

And right on cue, VIRTUALLY NOTHING about this REAL ON THE GROUND VICTORY OF A REAL WAR ON TERROR is being covered by Western corporate media.

No wonder. Because this was the work of Damascus, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran advisers, Baghdad and the PMUs – actually the “4+1” – and not the US-led “coalition” that includes Wahhabi mongrels House of Saud and UAE – that totally smashes to bits the monochord Washington narrative.

So History in the making must be silenced.

Of course Project Daesh of balkanizing “Syraq” is not dead.

Yet.

The jihadi diaspora – across the desert, towards other fronts (Afghanistan, Philippines, the Caucasus) – is in effect.

The usual suspects – and their proxies/lackeys – simply won’t give up

SYRIA WAR REPORT – NOVEMBER 9, 2017: GOVERNMENT FORCES LIBERATE AL-BUKAMAL FROM ISIS

On November 8, pro-government forces successfully advanced northeast of the T2 pumping station, liberated Ratka oil field, Suwayyah, al-Hiri, Huwayjat Baghuz and entered the city of al-Bukamal at the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces and Hezbollah, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, participated in the operation from the Syrian side of the border. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units participated from the Iraqi part of the border. Military advisers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps assisted the advancing troops on the both sides of the border.

By November 9, the SAA and its allies are still in need to consolidate their recent gains in the area and to secure and demine al-Bukamal. ISIS terrorists control some points in the desert area north of the city and could use a wide network of underground tunnels to conduct counter-attacks.

ISIS lost the last its significant settlement in Syria. In November, the terrorist group will likely lost the remaining settlements. This will push ISIS to choose a guerrilla warfare as the main tool of its operations in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have tightened further its siege on the ISIS-held town of al-Busariyah. Within few days, the SDF captured Al-Qushayriyah, Al-Khan, al-Hereji, al-Khajjah and other nearby points.

The US-backed group is working to take control over the al-Busariyah-ash-Shaddaday road and prepare to storm al-Busariyah.
Eastern Syria is de-facto separated between pro-government and pro-US forces along the Euphrates River.

The SDF and the US-led coalition are working to secure their recent gains to strengthen their military and negotiating position in the post-ISIS era.

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