ISIS Crushed as Last Stronghold Falls

The Syrian army has crushed the very last ISIS-held town in that country—an event that should be top of world news, but is not—in a dramatic development which sets the stage for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in that country, despite the US-Saudi-Israeli governments’ best efforts to topple the government of Bashar al Assad.

News of the final fall of the last town held by ISIS—al-Boukamal, also known as Abu Kamal—which lies against the Iraqi border—was celebrated by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) with the headline “Liberation of al-Boukamal foils Israeli-US project.”

The Sana report said that “Syrian Arab Army and the allied forces eliminated the last hotbeds of Deash (ISIS) terrorist organization” with the retaking of al-Boukamal.

The town had been taken for the first time over the past weekend, but the last ISIS forces had launched a surprise counter attack, and only a renewed assault had cleared the area of the last terrorists.

SANA said that al-Boukamal  “was meant to be a springboard for the Israeli-U.S. project of imposing hegemony on the region,” and that this attempt had now been “foiled, [along] with Daesh’s grand dream of establishing an ‘Islamic Caliphate.’”

A field commander quoted by SANA said that “Deash terrorists made desperate efforts and used car bombs, explosive devices and suicide bombers in their attempt to defend their fortifications set up among the citizens’ houses,” and that Syrian army personnel fought tough house-to-house battles and tunnel confrontations.

“We were able to rout them and force the remaining terrorists out from al-Boukamal, and now the engineering units are combing the city’s neighborhoods to remove mines and explosive devices,” the commander added.

The report added that “towards the end of the army’s operation in al-Boukamal, “Deash terrorists who felt the noose tightening on them fled the city under the protection of the US-led coalition, whose forces tended to jam satellite communications to prevent the Syrian and Russian air forces from targeting Daesh supply convoys.”

With the full liberation of al-Boukamal, ISIS is now restricted to the west of the Euphrates River in the area stretching from the northwest of the Badia of al-Boukamal to the southeast of al-Sukhneh and in the area on the eastern bank of the River from the north of al-Boukamal to the south of Markadeh in the northeastern Hasaka province, the report concluded. Most of this area is desert, and strategically worthless.

At the same time, SANA reported on the meeting between al-Assad and Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying that the Russian leader had “congratulated President al-Assad on the successes achieved by Syria in the framework of combating terrorism and on [the] approaching victory over terrorism.”

SANA said that Putin had “underlined the importance of the timing of the visit [by the Syrian president] in increasing coordination between the two sides, holding additional consultations, and listening to the assessment of the Syrian leadership on the situation in Syria.”

In addition, Putin said, they had discussed the “shape of the next steps” and the “vision on the political process and the role of the UN in it before the summit during which he will meet his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.”

Putin said that Russia was “working with all parties for ending the crisis and finding a political solution in Syria,” and the two presidents “discussed the current preparations for holding the National Dialogue Congress in Sochi in Russia,” where all the non-ISIS “rebels” still remaining are expected to sit down and negotiate a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

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