Tabqa Battle, Mutual Benefits Between The Regime And ISIS, Remaining And Expanding

Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”

At the beginning of this month, Assad regime launched a military campaign in order to regain Raqqa city, ISIS stronghold. As always, the regime used the international media to support this campaign
Regime started the campaign by advancing in Atharya-Rasafa road toward Tabqa City and Tabqa military airbase which is the most strategic site in eastern Syria. Meanwhile, regime’s media started promoting the great victories and promising regime supporters that the Syrian army is going to liberate Tabqa city in order to liberate Raqqa and Deir-Ezzour later on.
It is worth noted that the campaign was backed by couple of local and regional militias (Hezbollah and Iranian militias) along with “Desert falcons”, which is militia formed by Shabiha from Raqqa, Deir-Ezzour and Al-Salamiya and trained by the Russian army.
The regime troops managed to advance into Raqqa administrative boundaries supported by Russian air force which played a major role in this battle, regime forces controlled over Al-Thawra oil field and were less than 14 km far from Tabqa Airbase.
Regarding the nature of the land where Assad’s forces advanced, we find that it is an exposed desert area that has no strategic sites, which makes it too difficult to maintain it for a long time. And actually, this is what happened, couple of days ago ISIS managed to regain these sites and Assad troops retreated and went outside Raqqa boundaries.
As a result of this campaign, dozens of regime fighters were killed along with a big loss of vehicles and military equipments. On the other hand, ISIS hanged the dead bodies in Tabqa streets. Meanwhile, Russian warplanes launched dozens of raids over Raqqa and Tabqa in an attempt to cover up regime’s failure. These raids led to dozens of killed civilians and hundreds of injured ones.
Ultimately, results of this campaign were all in the terrorist group side, which took the opportunity and proved to civilians that it is capable of protecting the areas under its control. On the other hand, ISIS used this victory to cover up its failures in Iraq and Aleppo’s eastern and northern suburbs.
In contrast, Assad regime has tried to use this campaign to share lies about its fake advance in Raqqa desert in an attempt to cover up the utter failure in Aleppo’s southern suburbs and to show the world that it plays a major role in fighting terrorism by facing ISIS in its stronghold Capital, Raqqa.
At the end, it is worth noted that this military campaign, which was supported by the Russian air force, was coincided with other military campaign launched by YPG to control over Manbij, which was supported by the American air force. This “coincidence’, so to speak, led to doubts about the relation between these two international poles and the harmony or contrary between their policies towards the Syrian war in general and fighting ISIS in particular. But it seems that the initial outcomes of this ambiguous relation do not bode well for Syrian people, as long as both Russia and America insist on supporting the parties who participated in killing, humiliating and displacing the Syrian people.

media activist from the city of Raqqa, student at the Faculty of Law at the University of the Euphrates. Director of the Media Office of Raqqa, founding member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently", founding member of the documentary project of "Sound and Picture". I work in documenting violations committed by Assad's regime and ISIS group and extremist organizations inside the city of Raqqa, as I work in programming, design and visual media. I hold a certificate of coach in digital security, and a certificate of journalist coach, and a certificate in documenting violations against human rights, and a certificate in electronic advocacy. I underwent a training under the supervision of "Cyber-Arabs" in collaboration with the Institute for War and Peace "IWPR", about the management of electronic websites and leadership of advocacy campaigns, and a training of press photography under the supervision of the photojournalist "Peter Hove Olesen".