Recently rumors have come about stating that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the International Coalition, have withdrawn from Akirishi and allowed Assad forces to advance toward the village.
SDF controlled the village as of July 11th, but contrary to their usual tactics, they stopped advancing towards the east in lieu of taking a defensive position. The International Coalition had also stopped targeting ISIS east of this area. Once the SDF ceased their advance toward the east, the Assad regime and those forces loyal to it started marching from the south toward those SDF territories. They gained control of several villages and oil fields including Rasafa, Abu Dahal, and Salamalekum. But upon reaching Akirshi, Assad’s Army met with SDF to negotiate division of territory. According to the agreement they reached, the SDF will continue to control Akirishi and all areas north of Dier Ez-zor highway, whereas the Assad army will take areas south of the village including the local oil field.
In a related context, general Robert Jones, Deputy Commander in Chief of the International Coalition, indicated during his July 24th visit to northern Syria that the International Coalition plans to remain in Syria even after the war against ISIS is over. Moreover, Jones confirmed that they have drawn out boundaries with the Assad regime and that Russia has agreed upon them.
In the past two weeks, both Assad regime and Russian warplanes have launched massive raids on Raqqa’s eastern countryside, as the International Coalition seems to have stopped blocking their forces from accessing the area.