November 11th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Joaquin Flores for FRN –
AL-BUKAMAL, Syria – According to numerous field reports being received, earlier Saturday evening an ISIS groupment previously holding onto a strategic outskirts position, was baited into moving into the center of border-city of Al-Bukamal, Deir Ezzor. After some expected initial skirmishes, the SAA and allied commanders ordered a strategic withdraw from the city in what appears to be a lure tactic, placing the ISIS groupment into a predicable and limited position, where they were just previously and successfully defeated just days ago on November 8th, as FRN reported then.
Syrian military reports indicate that SAA and allies forces were unable to secure the northern outskirts of Al-Bukamal without taking unnecessary losses, despite the overwhelming odds generally favoring the SAA at this point in the now 4 year old conflict against ISIS. We should expect that strategic traps have been laid by the SAA that will make the subsequent clean-up of the drawn-in ISIS forces all the less risky to complete.
The fractured ISIS forces which were holding the center of Al-Bukamal made a strategic withdrawal towards the northern outskirts of the war torn city, sometime on November 8th. SAA and allied forces did not fall into the trap that was laid, and instead have reversed the tactic on the Daesh mercenaries.
It is a standard practice of the mercenary groupments fighting under any number of ostensibly ideological/religious flags, to operate on a somewhat more decentralized level than the professional SAA and the allied forces working in similar command chains. ISIS, et al, groupments generally receive bonuses and regular pay upon the condition of making, filming, and otherwise documenting, various battle-field successes, as their out-of-theatre backers do not have confidence in their claims of progress at face value.
This way of waging war on the part of the anti-Syrian axis as been used to the advantage of the SAA and allies, and it is possible that this latest strategic withdrawal from the center of Al-Bukamal by the SAA and allies reflects precisely this. ISIS commanders on the ground would be incentivized to make short term gains at the expense of sustainable long term victories.
Red – SAA and Allies, Black – ISIS.
For now, Al-Bukamal is nominally under the Islamic State’s control, but with several days having passed and the movement of SAA positions to secure Highway 4 from the area of Al-Mayadeen and Al-Quriyah, as well as the securing of the Iraqi border days before that, ISIS will have a difficult time holding to that position in light of dwindling supplies and being pushed in the southern Deir Ezzor theatre to the less favorable position east of the Euphrates. The Syrian Arab Army and their allies are now in the preparations of a reinforced push towards the city from the north through Al-Jalaa to the city of Al-Bukamal.
This will result in a final attack with minimal losses on Al-Bukamal from several directions. Time and resources are on the side of the SAA and allies.