Syria Daily: ISIS Counter-Attack Advances, Takes Town from Regime

Russia's RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan in al-Qaratayn in eastern Homs Province, April 2016

Islamic State continues to strike back after summer of pro-Assad gains in central and eastern Syria


On the fourth day of a counter-attack that may have exposed the fragility of a pro-Assad offensive, the Islamic State has recaptured the town of al-Qaryatayn in eastern Homs Province.

Local sources supported the claim of ISIS that they had advanced into the town, 300 km (186 miles) from Deir ez-Zor city.

In a summer offensive, the pro-Assad forces, backed by Russian airpower, had pushed the Islamic State out of Homs Province and into Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria, one of the last significant positions of ISIS. They had broken the Islamic State’s three-year siege of Deir ez-Zor city, moving into western districts. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces had moved to the north and east of the city.

But last week ISIS struck on three fronts, taking towns and villages along the Euphrates River south of Deir ez-Zor city and moving west back towards the town of Sukhna in Homs Province. The attacks accompanied an audio statement by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his first in almost a year, calling on fighters to persevere despite losses across Iraq and Syria.

The recapture of al-Qaryatayn goes far beyond the summer pro-Assad push — it was taken by the regime military and foreign allies six months ago.

Regime officials and media are silent so far about the town’s status. “Military sources” instead claimed that scores of ISIS fighters have been killed by airstrikes to the east of Sukhna, on a main road to Deir ez-Zor city.

A pro-Assad propaganda site also tried to claim success elsewhere:

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah tried to play down the ISIS operations on Saturday, saying they were to be expected as the group lost territory.

At Least 12 Killed in Bombing of Police Station in Damascus

State media says at least 12 people have been killed in bombing of a police station in southern Damascus.

Interior Minister Mohammad al-Shaar told reporters that two attackers struck guards with bombs. One then blew himself up with an explosive belt in front of the main gate of the station. The second reached the first floor of the building where he was killed by police, detonating his belt.

Information Minister Mohammad Ramez Tourjman said the bombing was a “desperate attempt to raise collapsed morale” of enemy forces. He called on the international community to take “deterrent and punitive measures against the regimes that back terrorism”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. While the Democratic Federation of north Syria unites its various people and ethnicities, and embarks to build themselves a nation with prosperity, under the protection of the US NFZ, Assad will have to fight all the various groups that want nothing but his destructoin. There is no way he can suppress all the Sunnis and minorities that he rules upon. The more the Democratic Federation progresses, the more difficult it becomes for Assad and his foreign masters to justify their rule, and they will try everything to sabotage the democratic north’s progress. Sooner or later even the Alawites will discover how they have been shortchanged by this gang of nazi looters.

    • If there was a NFZ in northern Syria, the Russians would not have bombed the crap out of the SDF near Deir Ezzor on the 18th. The SDF are essentially sitting ducks once the US withdraws as they will be defenseless against the SAA, Turkey and Iran/Iraq.

      Sad really.

      • Lol – don’t you read the news? The Russians managed to wound 6 SDF fighters. Then they apologized and said it was SAF and not the Russians, and that they will not repeat it. They have not repeated it.

        The Russians are testing the waters and the red lines. The only language they understand is force and annihilation. One US F18 can take out half of the Russian aircrafts in Syria, and half of SAA on the ground.

        And never count on Erdo’an. This snake will stab Rooskies in the back at any moment. He is still fuming from being forced to go to Moscow and personally apologize to Putin. It is all saving face for Islamics. He will never forgive Putin for that.

        • One US F18 can take out half of the Russian aircrafts in Syria, and half of SAA on the ground.

          LOL. One Russian anti aircraft launcher can take out a dozen F18s. No US pilot would dare take on the Russians in the air. The F18s electronic systems would be disabled before the pilot even realised it.

          • If Russia dares to fire on of its clunky missiles at a US aircraft, all Russian missile launchers will be annihilated in a moment’s notice, and from 500 miles away. Have no doubts about that. Besides, just like the S300, the S400 is another piece of junk and sheet metal being sold to unsuspecting dictators who don’t have the money to pay for the real thing.

            Russia has a long way to go to stop being a 3rd world nation with some nukes.

      • Andre still lives in the dream of the 50s. He doesnt understand “his” world changed from 1991. Russia is no more than a regional power. Like China. The US still is the only global power, speaking about military. So he is as usual pretty delusional.

        • The US may be global but it’s power has been so crippled since the Iraq war that no one fears it anymore. They are involved in 8 theaters of war and losing in all of them. Even North Korea gets away with kicked sand in Uncle Sams face these days without fear of reprisal.

          • If the US is so impotent, then how come SAA and the Rooskies dare not attack DNSF? They once tested that, and then they apologized. Half of Syria has just been taken away from Assad and Rooskies, and they could do nothing about it. Thank you McMaster/Mathis.

            Even in Efrin, the Rooskies are supporting SDF in its fight against the invading Turks. Soon the FSA will join DNSF and jettison Islamic Erdo’an.

  2. Maybe I have pre-judged Landis. This is what he says today.

    “My bet is that it will become very hard for the US to withdraw from Syria in the future, despite McGurk’s assurances to the contrary. Every Washington think-thank is begging us to stay in Syria and thwart the evil Ruskies and Majousies.”

  3. “We’re at the end of Raqa. There are two positions left: the stadium and the few surrounding buildings, and the national hospital,” said Amjad Siryani, a local commander with the SDF’s Syriac Military Council. 10/1/2017

    #Jazira_Region: Syriac Union Party head Ishou Gawriye & deputy Sanharib Barsum paid a congratulatory visit to new DCP office in Qamishli 9/30/2017

    U.S SOF spotted during graduation of new batch of Sanadid (SDF) fighters from training camp. 9/29/2017

  4. The countryside of al-Hasakah witnessed a meeting of reconciliation, harmony and social peace, in which representatives and notables from the Arabic, Kurdish and Syriac tribes participated. The participants stressed that the people of the area are one hand against the attacks of Turkish occupation and IS mercenaries. 9/12/2017

    The new map of Syria shows how important the Federation of Northern Syria and the SDF are in tempering the Iranian influence. Soon they will serve as a wedge right between Iranian proxies in Iraq on the one side and Syria on the other. After the Deir Ezzor operation this will be the area that blocks the expansion of Iranian power. 9/22/2017

    In an interview with Sterk TV, Sozdar Avesta, a member of KCK’s (Kurdistan Communities Union) Presidential Council warned Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) for their attacks against Shengal Resistance Units (YBS). 9/29/2017

  5. Well, it seems that ISIS has finally wised up and decided Assad’s deals are not worth the paper it is written upon. For a long time they were cooperating with Assad, thinking that they can co-exist, as Assad was bombing FSA and Nusra and civilians everywhere, and needed ISIS help.

    Now they realized that once the US decided to install a NFZ on northern Syria, Assad gets boxed in, and cannot hit the Kurds or the SDF and soon the NFZ will extend to Idlib, and will thus have to concentrate on ISIS to salvage some territory and resources.

    ISIS tried to make deals with Assad. But Assad discovered he is out of territory and excuses and must now go after ISIS.

    • For a long time they were cooperating with Assad, thinking that they can co-exist, as Assad was bombing FSA and Nusra and civilians everywhere, and needed ISIS help.

      You really do live in a paralle universe. If ISIS were trying to co-exist with anyone it was the US. Even Kerry admitted the they were happy for ISIS to do the heavy lifting against Assad and needless to say, the veil was lifted with bombing of the SAA near Deir Ezzor, which helped ISIS.

      The US is still considering the possibility of a NFZ, but only with Russia’s permission.

      • I explained to you that Kerry just expressed a well known fact that ISIS was a thorn in the side of SAA, and thus SAA could not just roll over FSA.

        The SAA bombing by the US was clearly because the Rooskies were trying to cheat and grab DNSF territory. SAA/Iran/Rooskies learnt the hard way that US is serious about DNSF.

        Lol – you are on medication? The NFZ is there to stop the Russians. Why would the US need Russian permission for an NFZ? Does a cop need the permission of a robber to arrest the robber? Can I ask which country did you grow up? You seem not to understand basic logic sometimes. I bet you are an Arab who grew up in Palestine or Tunisia.

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