DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:30 A.M.) – Contrary to the reports emerged earlier about so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) jihadists retreating from Maskanah town in eastern Aleppo countryside, violent clashes between designated terrorist group and Syrian government forces are still raging in the region.
IS militants put up fierce resistance to Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units attempting to advance in the outskirts of Maskanah.
Images below show IS jihadists targeting and destroying SAA’s armoured vehicles with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM):
With Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) already at the gates of Raqqa, it would seem logical for jihadists to withdraw from eastern Aleppo countryside and try to reinforce their ranks inside their de-facto capital in Syria.
Fighting for Maskanah in full swing might not look like a good idea, given the circumstances; however, the explanation can be found in recent SDF advances near Tabqa city which made it much more difficult for IS to redeploy their forces from Maskanah Plains to Raqqa (see map).
In order to reach Raqqa after withdrawing from Maskanah, militants will have to make a long detour via secondary roads risking to become an easy target for either U.S. Airforce, or for their Russian and Syrian counterparts.
Complete interactive map of Syria can be found here.