News Desk |
Militants defending their last bastion in eastern Syria used the cover of bad weather to launch a deadly counterattack against a Kurdish-led force.
The militant Islamic State group was unable to hold on to the positions they attacked but the assault killed 23 members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and also left nine militants dead.
IS fighters took advantage of poor visibility to unleash suicide attackers on SDF forces along the front line in the Euphrates valley late on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
ISIS once ruled large swaths of territory in northern and eastern Syria but were beaten back by separate Russian backed Syrian and American backed Kurdish offensives.
“Twenty-three SDF fighters were killed and nine IS militants were also killed in fighting that lasted all night and into Monday morning,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The militants often launch attacks under the cover of bad weather that cancels out their opponents’ advantage of US-led coalition air power.
The SDF launched what is meant to be the final offensive on the militant organization four months ago with air and ground support from coalition forces. This is a major attack by the militant group in months and has come after all sides declared victory against ISIS in Syria.
This attack came weeks after US President Donald Trump announced a complete pull out of all troops from Syria by the end of 2019. This announcement shocked many observers who believed that the withdrawal of US forces would be premature since it would still require years to completely defeat ISIS in Syria.
The decision of US President was however welcomed by Syrian, Russian and Turkish governments. Turkey views US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria as a threat to its national security and is expected to take military action against them after the US withdrawal from the region.
Kurds, however, have expressed confidence in their capability to fend off any military threats from Turkey or Syrian governments.
ISIS once ruled large swaths of territory in northern and eastern Syria but were beaten back by separate Russian backed Syrian and American backed Kurdish offensives. ISIS still controls substantial territory in the country.
This attack exhibits the capabilities which this terrorist group possesses to pick off scattered enemy forces. However, it’s only a shadow of its past.