Despite a Thursday declaration by the Assad regime’s military of “complete” victory over the Islamic State, ISIS is continuing to fight in its last town, al-Bukamal in eastern Syria.
Local sources said Islamic State resistance continued in part of the town on the Iraq border, and the ISIS outlet Amaq circulated a video of the destruction of two pro-Assad armored vehicles and a bulldozer with anti-tank missiles, and of Islamic State fighters on the streets of al-Bukamal.
Reporters with the regime military modified the Thursday statement to say that ISIS was not removed from al-Bukamal, but was expected to retreat north along the Euphrates River soon.
Pro-opposition media, citing “media sources in the field”, said there were clashes between pro-Assad militias and Hezbollah inside al-Bukamal, forcing a withdraw to the outskirts of the town.
The al-Dorar site said the reason for the clash is still unknown.
The Islamic State has lost all other major positions taken since late 2013 across northern and eastern Syria, in the face of a combination of assaults by pro-Assad, Kurdish-led, and rebel forces.
The most recent advances have been south of al-Bukamal in Deir ez-Zor Province, with pro-Assad units and the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces racing each other to take strategic areas. After breaking the three-year ISIS siege on the divided Deir ez-Zor city, the pro-Assad offensive completed the capture last month and moved along the Euphrates River to the north and south. The SDF have gained oil and gas fields, but are likely to face pressure from the regime and its Russian and Iranian allies to give them up.