The main ISIS position blocking the advance from the West towards the Caliphate's capital at Raqqah is on the verge of being surrounded, as Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) battle with ISIS die-hards in the village of Safsasa. 

If the village can be secured, it will effectively break contact between the ISIS forces doggedly defending the Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates and their capital at Raqqah. This will enable an advance on Raqqah to further tighten the noose on the ISIS stronghold, where desperate jihadi fighters are preparing to use civilians as human shields.

With the US-backed SDF pushing ISIS hard at the Tabqa Dam, Assad's forces, with the support of the Russians, are taking the opportunity to advance in the area around the ancient city Palmyra.

This is possibly with a view to cutting across 100 miles of desert to relieve the Syrian government forces besieged by ISIS forces at Deir ez-Zor in the East of the country. 

Update: With President Trump foolishly threatening airstrikes against Syrian government forces in response to a fake gas attack (clearly staged by rebel forces), the Syrian army is less likely to make this push across open desert territory for the time being.

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