Abu Kamal: Grasping Defeat from the Jaws of Victory Abu Kamal: Grasping Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

It was at Abu Kamal that the end of the ISIS Caliphate was announced. When the Syrian army helped by the PMUs (popular mobilization units of Iraq) crossed the border from the Iraqi side after taking over the ISIL’s Iraqi stronghold of Abu Qasim, it seemed that it was game was all but over for the self-declared caliphate, especially when Lebanon’s redoubtable Hezbollah entered the fray.

The ISIS militants sneaked away into the desert and the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) smugly declared victory over ISIL once and for all. Meanwhile the American backed so called SDF or Syrian Democratic forces led by the Kurds were left to gnash their teeth in impotent fury as the border crossing fell to their rivals. Finally Iran’s goal of a land link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon was complete. Never before since the days of the Persian Empire had Iran had so much influence outside its borders.

However, it was a bit premature, this declaration of victory that is. Why? Because the ISI militants who had run away had done nothing of the sort.  Rather they had successfully accomplished ISIl’s largest ever ambush. Like rats from the sewers, the hidden militants poured out of the already concealed tunnels burrowed, deep beneath the city.

They caught the hitherto victorious allies completely off their guard and quickly established a beachhead though which they flooded the entire city with suicide bombers.  Eventually, the Iraqis and Syrians were both forced to retreat outside the city from where they commenced their counterattack. And ferocious fighting is still going on even right now. With ISIS absolutely determined to fight to the last man to defend their very last urban stronghold in both Syria and Iraq combined. They had already being kicked out of neighboring Lebanon and now their backs were against the wall since they really have nowhere else to go.

Meanwhile the American armed and controlled SDF are trying to reach the city so that they could stop the ‘land bridge’ being developed between Iran and Syria via Iraq.

Right now it is just about anyone’s game how the whole thing turns out.  Only time will tell which victor gets to share the spoils of war.

Written By: Tahir Shabbir
Cover Photo Courtesy: debka

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