ISIS' last stand in Syria will take place in a strategic oil-rich region known as Deir ez-Zor, and this confrontation will pit the American military and its allied forces directly against the Syrian Arab Army and its backers, including Russia.
By: Darius Shahtahmasebi /ANTIMEDIA — As Anti-Media predicted in June of this year, ISIS' last stand in Syria will take place in a strategic oil-rich region known as Deir ez-Zor, and this confrontation will pit the American military and its allied forces directly against the Syrian Arab Army and its backers, including Russia.
Over the last few days, this potential clash has been brought ever closer to fruition. Reuters first reported on Monday that the Syrian Arab Army and its allies were beginning to encircle ISIS in Deir ez-Zor. The outlet then reported that the Syrian army had encircled ISIS in the region some days later and had begun to advance.
As Reuters noted in a separate report, Bashar al-Assad wants to "steal a march" on U.S.-backed militias in the attack on Deir ez-Zor, which are also vying to take control of the territory. The Assad administration also made it clear that as this stage of the Syrian war draws to a close, the Syrian army will target "any illegal presence" on its land, "whether being that of the United States or Turkey" – two countries that have illegally invaded Syrian territory over the course of the conflict.
As Newsweek noted, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated earlier this month that the U.S. is working hard to prevent a new U.S.-Russian proxy war inside Syria following the fall of ISIS.
"What we are hoping to avoid is the outbreak of a civil war, because you know what we really have is two conflicts in Syria: the war against ISIS and the civil war that created the conditions for ISIS to emerge," Tillerson said. "Again we're working closely with Russia and other parties to see if we can agree on a path forward on how to stabilize Syria in the post-ISIS world."
The major problem with this, particularly for some inside the U.S. war machine, is that the U.S. has had its eyes set on Deir ez-Zor for some time now with the hope that the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will inherit the territory after ISIS' collapse.
If Assad's forces beat the U.S. military to the punch — backed by Russian air power and Iranian manpower (and potential missile power) — the U.S. will most likely have to make a life-threatening decision regarding whether to continue down this path and confront Assad's Russian-backed military or find another road to venture down.