The map of military influence in Syria for August 2018 shows a new change in the total ratio of control among most of the forces compared to the ratios recorded in the previous month. August witnessed some important events including the SDF gaining control of the entire border with Iraq in eastern Syria. The area was an important stronghold and retreat for ISIS. On another front, the Syrian regime expanded its control in the Badiya of Suwayda at the expense of ISIS.
According to the map issued by the Jusoor Center for Studies, the Syrian regime control ratio increased from 58.6% in July to 59.8% in August. The record is the highest ratio of control since 2012. ISIS lost more of its areas of influence with its ratio of control decreasing from 3.8% to 2.4%. ISIS lost control over areas to the advantage of the Syrian regime, which advanced in the Badiya of Suwayda, and the SDF, which made significant advance east of the Euphrates River.
The armed opposition factions maintained their control ratio of 9.3% last month. The SDF-controlled area increased from 26.1% to 27.5%.
The Syrian North
The Syrian opposition factions are anticipating a possible attack on their last stronghold following statements by the regime and its international allies threatening to end the De-escalation Agreement due to the presence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the north. During August 2018, the Astana sponsor states intensified official meetings to spare Idlib and its vicinity from a potential disaster and to reach a solution that contributes to the stability of the region. However, the overall impression indicates that no agreement has been reached and that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara will continue negotiations.
The Security Council held an emergency session to discuss the fate of the Syrian north. Western countries warned against the launch of any military operation in northern Syria that will cause a humanitarian disaster and warned the Syrian regime against any new use of chemical weapons following Russian allegations that the opposition factions are planning to launch chemical attacks in Jisr ash-Shugur, Kafarzita and Saraqib.
The opposition factions tried to take proactive steps for the battle that manifested in the most important formations in the north of Syria joining the National Liberation Front (FNL). The Front carried out several limited preventive operations against the Syrian regime locations along the contact lines during recent months.
The Syrian East
SDF completed its military operations within the third phase of the al-Jazeera Storm battle launched in May 2018. SDF was able to take control of the entire border zone with Iraq and ended ISIS existence in this pocket.