Pro-Assad forces make inroads into area where rebels evicted ISIS

16 May 2017 | Written by Abheet Sethi; Edited by Ramya

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army and Iranian-backed Shiite militias have reportedly been deploying soldiers towards a desert region located strategically along Syria's border with Iraq and Jordan.

The deployment comes as US-backed Syrian rebels consolidate control in the area which was recently held by ISIS militants.

This move could help the Syrian army gain a better foothold against the Syrian rebels and ISIS.

In context: Syrian army against rebels along Iraqi border

IntroductionWhy is Syria at war?

Following Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar took over as the President of Syria.

Since then, Syrians had complained of high unemployment, the absence of political freedom, corruption, and state repression.

In Mar'11, pro-democracy demonstrations in the Deraa city erupted; but the Government crushed the demonstrations.

Subsequently, countrywide protests demanding President al-Assad's resignation erupted that led to the Syrian civil war.

16 May 2017Pro-Assad forces make inroads into area where rebels evicted ISIS

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Big gunsSyrian army deploys tanks, artillery, armored vehicles

Over the last few days Syrian rebels said the Iranian-backed Syrian army has deployed troops armed with tanks, artillery and armored vehicles, in town of Sabaa Biyar, close to the strategic Damascus-Baghdad highway.

This is aimed at preventing the areas in the Syrian Badia region from coming under the control of US-backed moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels who evicted ISIS from there.

Rebels explain plans of pro-Assad forces

"The [Assad] regime's plan is to reach the Iraqi-Syrian border and cut the road on our advance further towards the north east against [ISIS'] strongholds there after they lost territory in the Badia," a senior FSA commander told Reuters.

Jordan alarmedSyrian Rebel supporter Jordan alarmed by pro-Syrian government forces' advance

The Iranian-backed Syrian army's push could bring them closer to the Tanf base situated close to the Iraqi border.

FSA rebels are undergoing training from US special forces at Tanf.

Jordan, a US ally, that supports the rebel groups has been particularly alarmed by advancement of Iranian supported Iraqi fighters and Hezbollah militants from Lebanon.

Jordan had earlier called their presence there unacceptable.

DetailsStrategic highway could help Iranian-backed militia reopen weapons supply route

The Damascus-Baghdad highway allowed Iranian weapons to enter into Syria until it was seized by ISIS.

If Syrian rebels are unable to stop the Syrian army and the pro-government Iranian-backed militias, Iranian weapons and reinforcement will start moving back in, weakening their position.

The rebels said they've started attacking outposts believed to be occupied by Iranian-backed militias.