The militias of the Islamic State appeared to have taken refuge on Thursday in the desert before the joint advance of Syrian and Iraqi troops at the border of the Euphrates. But the disbanded withdrawal of the ISIS in Abu Kamal, the last city of Syria in its power, turned out to be just a ruse. The jihadists countered by surprise the next day and throughout the weekend have evicted the government forces from the strategic plaza that completes the Tehran route to Beirut.
Informers on the ground of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed yesterday that the jihadi forces had been launched to the reconquest of Abu Kamal with an unprecedented intensity since they were expelled from Raqa, upstream of the river Euphrates, October 17th. The massive bombardments launched by Syrian aviation to evict them again have caused more than 30 deaths, according to the observatory's count, which points out that Damascus troops and their Shi'a allies have narrowed the siege to about two kilometres from the City.
Lebanese television, which has been linked to Hezbollah's Shi'a militias fighting in the ranks of the regime, reported that Abubaker Al-Bagdadi, the founder of the caliphate, was in Abu Kamal when he was first attacked by Syria and his allies. The US-led international coalition that fights the Islamic State (ISIS) replied that it has no news of its whereabouts. Since September, when he spread a message recorded in his own voice, Al-Bagdad has given no signs of life. Russia gave him for dead in June, but America assured two months later that he was still at the forefront of ISIS.
Mass graves on the other side of the border, meanwhile, the Iraqi army continues to comb the Euphrates valley to expel the jihadists from a dozen villages. The offensive aims at the locality of Rawa, the last urban entity that still controls in the country after the fall of Al Qaim, a week ago, and the border post with Syria.
Baghdad's military aviation provides support from the air to advancing its special forces along with allied Sunni tribal militias. The Islamic State already has only a residual presence in desert areas of western Iraq after having lost more than 95% of the territory that it came to dominate in 2014, at its maximum moment of expansion.
The governor of the Iraqi province of Kirkuk, Rakan Said, has announced, on the other hand, the finding of several mass graves with more than 400 corpses in the region of Al Hauiya, from where the ISIS was expelled in October, reports Efe.
The burial was located in the former US base of Al Bakaa, which was used by jihadists to organize executions. Among the remains are civil dresses and also the red monkeys who used to use those sentenced to death by the Islamic State.