The map of military influence in Syria for July 2018 showed a significant change in the total ratios of control among most of the forces compared to the ratios recorded in the previous month. July witnessed major events, the most important of which was the Syrian regime taking control of the entire southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra, with the exception of some ISIS-controlled villages.
According to the map issued by the Jusoor Center for Studies, the Syrian regime control ratio increased from 56.58% in June to 58.6%. The percentage represents the highest ratio of regime control since 2012.
ISIS lost more areas of influence and the areas under its controlled decreased from 7.07% in June to 3.8% due to the Syrian regime forces advancing in Badiye of Suwayda and the SDF advancement east of the Euphrates River.
The ratio of areas under opposition faction control decreased significantly as a result of the factions losing all of their strongholds in the south of Syria. The factions’ control ratio decreased from 10.4% in June to 9.3% in July. The SDF’s control ratio increased from 24.91% in June to 26.1% in July.
The Syrian South
The Syrian regime gained control of Daraa and Quneitra provinces in the south of the country in July, whereas some villages in the Yarmouk Basin remained under the control of ISIS.
The regime gaining control came after it launched a massive military operation, with Russian and Iranian air and ground support, to restore the Syrian south on June 19. The area had been subject to the De-escalation Agreement, sponsored by the United States of America, Jordan and Russia, since July 2017.
By the end of June, the Syrian regime had taken control of the entire eastern countryside of Daraa and some villages in the western countryside. The Central Operations Room had signed an agreement to hand over to the regime forces the entire border zone with Jordan and the fronts with ISIS in the Yarmouk basin. In return, the Syrian regime forces agreed to not enter the areas still under opposition faction control. The opposition factions still present in Daraa handed over their heavy and medium weapons to Russia in exchange for their integration into a military battalion subordinate to the Fifth Corps.
In July, the regime launched an attack on Tel al-Hara in the western countryside of Daraa and the opposition factions were divided between those wishing to join the reconciliation agreement and those refusing it. This division helped accelerate the Syrian regime gaining control of the region. The regime taking control of this area resulted in the remaining villages and towns in the eastern countryside joining the reconciliation agreement. Based on the agreement, opposition factions’ control was limited to Quneitra Province. On July 19, an agreement was signed whereby the fighters and their relatives who reject the reconciliation would leave for northern Syria. Following these gains, the Syrian regime hastened to launch an attack on the Yarmouk basin where it was able to advance and limit its control to three villages.
The Syrian East
The SDF resumed the al-Jazeera Storm battle launched in May 2018. The SDF concentrated its operations in July on removing ISIS from the Syrian-Iraqi border to gain control of the border zone. As a result of the battle, the SDF took control of several villages, towns and border police stations, limiting ISIS control to several areas east of Deir Ez Zor Province.