The Syrian Arab army has won the next series of local victories, but the main question now is who will be the first to enter the strategic border with Iraq and to the city of Abu Kamal - groups loyal to Assad or Iraqis controlled and driven by the Americans. The second chances were greater, but the Kurds intervened.
At the current moment, in the hands of jihadists there is only one relatively large settlement in the south of Syria, to which strategic importance can be attributed - Abu Kamal. In itself, this city has no special importance, but the overall strategic task is to reach the border with Iraq.
The offensive of the Syrians in this direction is from the base of TxNUMX and quite slowly. It is to the region of Abu Kamal that Russian "Calibers" regularly fly from submarines and land ships in the Mediterranean. And it is there, according to the Americans, that many leaders of IGIL can now be * (though, as they like to say in RuNet, "this is not accurate").
The referendum in Kurdistan did not allow the Iraqis to reach their own frontier first, although they were heavily driven by the Americans. And now the Kurds, both in Iraq and in Syria, have a new chance to strengthen their positions.
Of course, Baghdad does not abandon attempts to weaken the Kurdish pressure, not only by promoting it on the ground, but also by forming in its army new units, selected according to ethnic or religious principles. So, the Yezidi battalion was recently created (according to some data, up to 7 thousand fighters), which undermines the potential of the Kurdish armed formations regardless of their political affiliations.
Meanwhile, an undeclared competition with the Kurds "who will quickly clean up the banks of the Euphrates" has so far won the Kurds. It is easier for them - on the eastern bank of the jihadists there was only a light veil near the notorious Omar oil field, and it is not a fact that the Igilovs are going to defend themselves physically there. In such conditions, the rates at which the Kurds are moving south are even too slow. All their efforts go to the destruction of small mobile groups of the enemy and the imposition of their will on the local population, who had not even heard the Kurdish language before.
Against this backdrop, US Secretary of Defense Gen. Matthies said at the hearings in the Senate that during the storming of Rakki one American soldier and about 600 Kurds were killed (although they probably simply were not considered). From the point of view of the head of the Pentagon, this statistics indicates that the American army does not participate in ground-based battles, but gives war to others.
This can be treated differently with an amendment to the moral and ethical assessment, but something in the figures cited is alarming.
At a briefing in Baghdad, the commander of the task force of US special operations against IGIL, General James Jarrard made a strange reservation. First he said that there were 4 thousands of American servicemen in Syria, but when asked to repeat this figure, he was embarrassed and corrected himself, saying that there were only 500 American soldiers in Syria.
The representative of the Pentagon, Erik Pakhon, conducted this briefing, and tried to hush up the situation. In particular, he showed excessive awareness and stated that the real figure of the American presence in Syria is 503 person. "I do not know where the figure in 4 thousand came from," he said next. "Just a reservation." But it was not possible to specify exactly where all these people were stationed. So it is still not clear whether it was a question of Rakka or the whole territory of Syria.
It is also unclear whether the Pentagon could use more resources than it can sound to win a number of local races.
On other fronts, the situation is stable and without much change. In the province of Ham, government troops consistently squeeze out small towns and villages from the enemy, usually at once "bush".
So, for the last two days, five settlements are occupied, located on the eastern flank of the front. This is a routine job, beyond which there is no strategic goal or special preparation.
Idlib continues to clarify the relationship between the rival factions. But after Turkey joined the fighting, they began to have a vivid anti-Turkish character.
In the town of Maarat Misrin on Monday, the "emir" of the Turkish "Turkestan Islamic Party" Abdul Qadir (Abu Ali Dahmer Al-Sharki) was killed by unknown persons. Not that this caused irreparable damage to the Turcomans, but the very tendency to squeeze out pro-Turkish forces from the "goblin reserve" is very well seen.
As for the long-suffering Deir-ez-Zor (not the province with the same name, where Abu Kamal is located, but the city itself), now jihadists control only a few blocks. The sweep is proceeding slowly and will last, most likely, for several more weeks. It is necessary to take into account the need to clear the already cleared blocks - this requires large resources and also slows down the events.
* Organization, in respect of which the court accepted an inured decision on liquidation or prohibition of the activity on the grounds provided the Federal Law "On Countering Extremist Activity"