The map of military influence in Syria for May 2018 showed a partial change in the total ratio of control among the majority of the forces compared with the ratios recorded in the previous month. May witnessed major events such as the Syrian regime gaining control over the whole of northern Homs and entire neighborhoods south of Damascus.
According to the monthly map issued by Jusoor Center for Studies, the Syrian regime control rate amounted to 56.14% from 55.13% last month. Areas under SDF control slightly increased to 24.91% compared with 24.86% in April. The increase comes following the resumption of battles against ISIS east of the Euphrates River.
The areas under armed opposition factions decreased significantly as a result of the loss of their strongholds in northern Homs countryside and south of Damascus. The control ratio for May was 10.96% compared to 12.21% in April.
In addition, ISIS lost more areas whereby its ratio of control decreased to 7.02% from 7.80% in April due to its withdrawal from al-Yarmouk Camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad south of Damascus and positions east of the Euphrates River.
Syrian regime forces and allied militias took total control of the capital Damascus and its countryside on May 22, 2018 following a Moscow-sponsored deal to transport 1,600 ISIS fighters and their families from al-Yarmouk Camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad to areas in the Syrian Badiya. As a result, Damascus was free of military operations for the first time in nearly seven years.
The Eastern Region
On May 1, 2018, the SDF announced the launching of the final stage of the battle “Decisive Storm”, aimed at securing the Syrian-Iraqi border and destroying the remaining ISIS pockets east of Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zor eastern countryside and southern Hasaka countryside.
The extensive battle was limited to the ISIS pocket in north-eastern al-Boukamal. Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces participated alongside SDF by providing artillery shelling. The Iraqi Air Force also participated in the battle as did French artillery. As a result of the battle, the SDF took control of the town of al- Baghouz and expelled ISIS elements from the Iraqi border whereas the attack on the town of Hajin failed.
In turn, ISIS launched a number of attacks on regime forces and allied foreign militias positions in Palmyra Badiya and al-Mayadin during May. ISIS operations were concentrated in the Sukhna countryside and near the second station and Hamima, but without any field achievement.
The Northern Region
In May 2018, Turkey deployed all of the 12 observation points in northern Syria in accordance with the De-escalation Agreement. Russia announced the completion of the deployment of 17 observation points of which 7 are Iranian and 10 Russian.
Concurrently with the deployment of the observation points, a relative decrease in the number of reconnaissance flights and aerial bombardments was observed in the Syrian north. In contrast, the Syrian continued its artillery shelling of the north especially areas in northern Hama.