The Syrian Army has reinforced its positions with soldiers and military equipment in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor in response to increased attacks by ISIS and a possible assault on Al-Bukamal by US occupation forces and their allies, Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper reported on 14 August.
Local sources reported that a huge military convoy of the Syrian army arrived yesterday evening in the desert of Al-Mayadeen on the Homs-Deir Ezzor Road. The convoy consisted of buses and troop vehicles, in addition to field artillery, mortars, and modern tanks.
According to Al-Watan, the Syrian army is preparing to repel a possible military assault that US forces and its proxy armed groups, including the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), may launch from the eastern bank of the Euphrates River toward the city of Al-Bukamal. The Syrian army expects US forces and their allies to try to capture Al-Bukamal, and thereby block the only remaining border crossing between Syria and Iraq under Syrian government control.
The military reinforcements arrived two days after an attack by ISIS militants on a military bus Thursday evening, which led to the killing of 33 Syrian soldiers in the Al-Mayadeen desert as they traveled to a base at the T2 pumping station southeast of Deir Ezzor.
The T2 pumping station was an ISIS stronghold until its capture by the Syrian army in 2017.
ISIS also launched an attack on a checkpoint of the Syrian army last Wednesday near the village of Maadan Ateeq, east of Raqqa, killing ten Syrian soldiers.
The Syrian military build-up in Deir Ezzor also comes as the Russian military targeted ISIS positions in the region from warships anchored off the Syrian coast. Russian forces fired highly destructive precision missiles in the early hours of yesterday, targeting the extremist organization in the deserts of Hama and Homs.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), Syria is witnessing the “most violent” escalation in ISIS activities since it was “eliminated geographically” in 2019.
According to the Syrian military, ISIS enjoys logistical support and training from US forces occupying the illegal Al-Tanf military base at the intersection of the borders between Syria, Jordan, and Iraq.
The US acknowledges training armed groups it calls the Free Syrian Army (FSA) inside the Al-Tanf base, while protecting a 55 km area around it.
Previous US support for ISIS was illustrated by a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document that indicated a Salafist principality like the one established by ISIS in 2014 would emerge in western Iraq and eastern Syria.
The document indicated that this would be a positive outcome in the view of the US and its regional partners as part of their covert war against the Syrian government, which began in 2011.
For years, ISIS was able to quickly acquire US and Saudi-supplied weapons allegedly sent to other extremist groups in Syria fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) brand.
In some cases, US and Saudi-supplied weapons purchased in eastern Europe reached ISIS within two months, according to a study by the UK-based Conflict Armament Research.