Deir ez-Zor offensive (2018)

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Deir ez-Zor offensive (2018)
Part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate campaign of the Syrian civil war and spillover of the ISIL insurgency in Iraq (2017–present)
Date22 May – 11 June 2018
(2 weeks and 6 days)
Status Syrian Army and allies victory
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant  Syria
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Gen. Ali Muhammad al-Hussein 
"Abu Hussian" Haj Nasser Jamil Hadraj [1]
Units involved
Military of ISIL

Syrian Armed Forces

Russian Armed Forces


  • Hezbollah Rocket Division[1]

Iraqi Armed Forces

400 fighters (al-Shafa area)[6] Unknown
Casualties and losses
288 killed[7] 132 killed[7]

The Deir ez-Zor offensive (2018) was launched by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant against government-held areas throughout the Deir ez-Zor Governorate of Eastern Syria. During the offensive, on 8 June, ISIL managed to penetrate the city of Abu Kamal, capturing several parts of it.

The offensive[edit]

Initial attacks and assault on the highway[edit]

On 22 May 2018, ISIL launched an attack, involving suicide bombers and armored vehicles, on a military outpost southeast of Palmyra and near the T-3 Pumping Station. Pro-opposition sources reported between 26 and 30 pro-government fighters were killed, including 17 non-Syrians, while the military denied the high death toll and put the number of dead at 16 soldiers.[8][9] The next day, ISIL attacked a joint Syrian-Russian military convoy near the city of Mayadin. The ensuing clashes left 26 pro-Syrian government fighters, 5 Russian PMCs and 4 Russian regular soldiers dead. Russia reported 43 militants were also killed. Concurrently to the convoy attack, ISIL assaulted three Syrian military checkpoints in the same area. Three days later, two new ISIL attacks took place near Mayadin and Abu Kamal.[10][11]

On 4 June, ISIL attacked government forces along a 100-kilometer front from Mayadin to Abu Kamal,[12] capturing two or three towns on the western bank of the Euphrates.[6][13] The militants attacked on two fronts, with ISIL fighters coming from both the desert, west of the Euphrates, and from their territory on the eastern bank of the river. A few days before the assault, around 400 ISIL fighters crossed the Euphrates from their enclave to the east following heavy shelling of government positions.[6] The capture of the towns cut the Deir ez-Zor-Abu Kamal highway.[14] The following day, pro-government forces recaptured the areas they had lost.[12][13][15]

Attack on Abu Kamal[edit]

On 8 June, ISIL renewed its offensive[16] and managed to break the Army's lines around Abu Kamal[17] by using 10 suicide bombers,[18] including several SVBIEDs.[19] ISIL fighters managed to break into the city and fighting came close to the city center.[17] The attack once again cut the highway.[18] However, soon the Army launched a counter-attack and by the following day it was reported that the military managed to re-secure the city.[20] During the fighting, the commander of the Syrian Army's 11th Tank Division, General Ali Muhammad al-Hussein, was killed in clashes on the outskirts of Abu Kamal.[21] The commander of Hezbollah's Rocket Division was also killed.[1] On 10 June, ISIL's offensive against Abu Kamal was still continuing,[22] before the militants withdrew from the city on 11 June.[7]


On 17 June, it was reported by Al-Masdar News that ISIL launched a surprise attack on government forces around the T3 pumping station in the Syrian desert destroying one tank and killing several government soldiers.[23] The next day, government reinforcements from the Republican Guard, National Defense Forces, and Liwa Fatemiyoun as well as additional Hezbollah fighters, were sent in preparation for a new military operation against ISIL in the region.[24]

On 18 June, the Israeli Air Force carried out an airstrike targeting the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces as well as Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the area, resulting in the death of 52. The airstrike was initially blamed on the United States and the CJTF-OIR coalition by several Iranian linked militias including PMF, but this was denied by both the United States and CJTF-OIR; it was later discovered that it was in fact carried out by Israel.[25][26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "REPORT: Hezbollah Rocket Division commander killed in Syria".
  2. ^ "Syrian shock troops head to east Deir Ezzor for upcoming offensive against ISIS". Al-Masdar News. 7 June 2018.
  3. ^ Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (14 February 2016). "Liwa Usud al-Hussein: A New Pro-Assad Militia in Latakia". Syria Comment. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ "И снова ЧВК Вагнера. Как Россия воюет в Сирии".
  5. ^ "Iran-backed militias risk dragging Iraq deeper into regional conflicts - Mamoon Alabbasi - AW".
  6. ^ a b c "ISIS controls al-Ramadi and the violent clashes leave about 30 casualties of its members and Syrian and non-Syrian allies of the regime". 4 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "ISIS withdraws from al-Bokamal city after killing about 50 of the regime forces, Iranian Forces, and militias loyal to them in 72 hours". 11 June 2018.
  8. ^ Editorial, Reuters (22 May 2018). "At least 30 killed in Islamic State attack on Syrian army near Palmyra". Reuters.
  9. ^ "Syrian military denies 30 soldiers killed in ISIS ambush". 23 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Russia says 4 of its soldiers have been killed in Syria". 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ "26 Syria regime, 9 Russia fighters killed in IS attack: monitor". France 24. 27 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b "The regime forces and their allies restore most of the positions they lost in the west of the Euphrates and the death of about 90 members of them and of the organization raises to about 250, the number of casualties in the ranks of the both parties in 15 days". 6 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Scores of ISIL corpses litter Deir Ezzor battlefield after fierce battle with Syrian Army". 5 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Violent clashes in west Euphrates, IS closed Deir ez-Zor-al-Bu Kamal road - ANHA - Ajansa Nûçeyan a Hawar".
  15. ^ News, ABC. "The Latest: US says Syrian town of Manbij to be locally run". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  16. ^ "ISIS renews its offensive west of Euphrates and targets the regime, Iranians, and their loyalists in al-Bokamal area on road of Tehran – Beirut". 8 June 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Breaking: ISIS enters strategic border-city after overrunning Syrian Army defenses". 8 June 2018.
  18. ^ a b "The organization starts its heaviest attack on al-Bokamal in which Qasim Soleimani led its battles of control and closes the road of Tehran – Beirut killing and injuring tens of fighters". 8 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Syrian War Daily – 8th of June 2018". 8 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Syrian Army drives ISIS out of Albukamal, secures city". 9 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Syrian War Daily – 9th of June 2018". 9 June 2018.
  22. ^ "ISIS continues its offensive against the regime and the Iranians on the road of Tehran – Beirut and raises the death toll to 41 at least of the regime forces and allies in 48 hours". 10 June 2018.
  23. ^ "ISIS carries out powerful attack against Syrian troops in east Homs". 17 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Syrian Army, Hezbollah move to west Deir Ezzor for new military operation". 18 June 2018.
  25. ^ Israel, David. "CNN: Airstrike on Hezbollah, Iran, Near the Euphrates Carried by Israel".
  26. ^ "38 pro-regime foreign fighters said killed in Syria airstrike".
  27. ^ "Israel Kills 52 Syrian/Iraqi Anti-ISIS Fighters, as US Takes Aim at Iran". 20 June 2018.