As US-backed forces seize the city of Raqqa, the Syrian regime moves to retake ground in Deir Ezzor, where the Islamic State has laid siege to Bashar al Assad’s forces since 2014. Assad’s regime has received a boost from Iranian-sponsored militias, as well as the Russians, during its recent offensive in eastern Syria.
The city of Tabqah and the surrounding area have fallen to US-backed forces. The Islamic State had controlled the city, the Tabqah dam, and a military airbase in the area since 2013-2014. The battle for Tabqah, which began with a surprise attack on Mar. 22, is a key part of the strategy to capture the self-declared caliphate’s capital of Raqqa.
The Kurdish YPG (or People’s Defense Units) has released a summary of its operations for 2015. The YPG claims to have killed nearly 6,000 “enemy” fighters, most of whom likely belonged to the Islamic State, while losing just 680 of its own members in combat. The statistics provided by the YPG imply a kill ratio of nearly 9 to 1, which obviously seems high.