A couple watches the fighting in Syria from Tel Saqi. The Syrian regime and its Russian backers launched numerous artillery and air strikes on ISIS positions 2018.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
The Syrian regime forces are battling Islamic State for the control of a desolate volcanic landscape called Al-Safa near Suweida. Last week, Druze hostages held by ISIS were rescued by the Syrian army and on Saturday, a senior ISIS commander was also killed in battle.
This is good news for Damascus in its war against ISIS and points to a strengthening of the regime’s control near the US base at al-Tanf in southern Syria.
Abu Hajer Al-Shishani, a Chechan “emir” of ISIS, was killed in the battle for the volcano, according Al-Masdar news and other sources that support the Syrian regime. Shishani is one of many Chechans who joined ISIS in 2014 and often made up the backbone of their best units and some of their commanders. Abu Omar al-Shishani, an ISIS commander, was killed in 2016 and his brother was killed in 2018. The nickname “Shishani,” which means “Chechan,” is used for many Chechan fighters.
The Syrian regime offensive comes as the US has also launched a new push along the Euphrates valley near Hajin to defeat ISIS. Confronted on both sides of the Euphrates, ISIS is increasingly pressured to surrender what ground it still holds.
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