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ISIS Repositions after Abrupt Withdrawal from Southeast Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria stand on a lookout point to watch for ISIS in the southwestern countryside of Hasaka, Syria February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said

Beirut- ISIS has recently evacuated wide regions southeast Syria and Eastern Qalamoun, and has headed towards the Syria desert.

Opposition and regime forces shared control over regions of where ISIS pulled out. Activists revealed that the group withdrew from more than 14 villages in the north of As-Suwayda in a surprising movement so the regime forces advanced in these sites without any conflicts.

Withdrawals hint that repositioning has become a definite matter and trigger other questions on the post-Raqqa phase. In this context, Nawaf Khalil of the Kurdish Center for Studies told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there are ongoing preparations that include surprises on the military level to win the battle. ISIS will be baffled by the abrupt and untraditional military plan.”

Fayez al-Dwairi, Jordanian military expert and strategic researcher, declared that “repositioning” is a sign that the field condition is no more in favor of the military force.

Sources close to Iran warned that the desert in Syria might be a gathering point for ISIS then Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that his country will not hesitate in striking sites of terrorism in the neighboring countries such as Syria.

Dwairi saw that Abadi is exaggerating when talking about sending forces to Syria but did not deny that the statement meets with the Iranian vision.

The repositioning of ISIS indicates that the group will find a shelter in an inhabitant desert region where it will cope with it without reaching a military conclusion. Terrorism has moulted its skin from al-Qaeda to ISIS and moved from one location to another, yet Dwairi has concerns that a more savage version of ISIS is awaiting us.

“ISIS can’t be defeated unless a bunch of steps were taken. Not only a military approach is required but also political, social and intellectual one,” he added.