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Some 70 ISIS members have withdrawn from the town of Tabqah and the Tabqah Dam under a deal with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon confirmed in a statement at the website of its International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve on May 11. Thus, the US-led coalition officially confirmed rumors that had been circulating about a possible open corridor for the ISIS terrorists operating in the town of Tabqah and the nearby Tabqah dam. This was the second deal of the US-backed force with ISIS that became widely known. Previously, a large group of ISIS members left the town of Manbij encircled by the SDF in the province of Aleppo.
Following the withdrawal from Tabqah, ISIS militants launched an attack on SDF positions in the villages of Ayed Kabir and Al-Mushirfa near Tabqah. Clashes are still ongoing in the area.
According to pro-SDF sources, 26 ISIS militants were killed and 3 vehicles were destroyed. ISIS claimed that five Kurdish fighters were killed in the village of Ajeel south of the Tabqah military airport.
Talal Sallou, spokesman of the SDF said that the next aim of the US-backed force is to isolate Raqqa city from the western, northern and eastern flanks prior to storming the ISIS self-proclaimed capital. Thus, ISIS will have an open way to the south, which means that the US-led coalition may be willing to push ISIS to withdraw into the Syrian desert where terrorists will fight the SAA and its allies.
Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, announced on Thursday that the group has dismantled its military positions on the border with Syria as the mission of securing the area has been completed and the Lebanese eastern borders have became safe.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have captured three hills in the mountains of Shomaria in the eastern Homs countryside after violent clashes with ISIS terrorists. As a result of this advance, pro-government fighters reached the outskirts of the village of Hamida.
Meanwhile, the SAA has been strengthening its forces in the vicinity of the Seen Military Airbase and at the Al-Tanf road. According to some pro-government sources, the SAA aims to take full control of the Al-Tanf road and then the Al-Tanf border area. However, this effort will be linked with clashes against Western-backed militants operating in the area.
Opposition sources announced the formation of a new force of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in northern Aleppo named. The group was named “First Corps” and created with a Turkish support.
The militant groups known as the Sultan Mohammed Al-Fateh Brigade, the Samarkand Brigade, Jaish al-Ahfad, the Al-Muntaser Bellah Brigade, the 101st Division, the Al-Fatah Brigade, the Tala’a al-Nasr Brigade joined the First Corps. The group now includes 10,000 fighters, according to Capt. Abu Kanan al-Homsi. Its militants had received training and equipment from Turkey.
According to opposition sources, the main objective of the First Corps would be to fight ISIS, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), and Kurdish militias (YPG, YPJ, PKK). The group will be stationed in the towns of Al-Rai, Akhtarin and Ghandoura in the northern Aleppo countryside.
In Idlib, the HTS issued a ban on the transfer of anti-tank missiles, Grad rockets and modern weapons and started an effort aimed to confiscate them from all local groups. HTS already arrested some members of Ana’ al-Sham and confiscated their weapons in the northern Hama countryside.
According to local sources, tensions have once again increased in the countryside of Idlib between Ahrar al-Sham and HTS. A new round of clashes in the province of Idlib may start soon.
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