BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) is far from finished in Syria, despite some claims by the U.S. administration.
The terrorist group has mostly retreated to the Syrian Desert region known as the Badiya Al-Sham, which is located between the Deir Ezzor, Homs, and Al-Sweida governorates.
In order to evade airstrikes and missile attacks, the Islamic State has sought shelter inside the vast number of caves that are located throughout this desert region.
According to an officer from the Syrian Arab Army’s 10th Division, the Islamic State has a large presence in the Badiya Al-Sham region, with an estimated 1,500-3,000 fighters still roaming around southeast Syria and western Iraq.
The officer said the Islamic State is able to resupply their fighters in both countries by traveling under the cover of night.
By traveling at night, the Islamic State fighters can conduct raids on nearby towns to collect supplies and travel undetected through the desert region.
The officer continued that clearing this desert region of ISIS fighters is very difficult and requires a large number of troops that they cannot afford to deploy to this front at this time.
When asked about the location of the Islamic State’s leadership, including their founder and leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, he responded that the so-called ‘caliph’ is likely moving back and forth from this desert region to Iraq’s Al-Anbar Governorate.
He would add that as soon as Turkey turns their attention to the eastern Euphrates region, he believes the Islamic State sleeper cells will activate and begin retaking areas from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).