The map of military influence in Syria for October 2018 shows stability in the areas controlled by the conflicting forces. The stability persists despite the military activities and battles witnessed in some areas, the most prominent being the fighting between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces, and between ISIS and the Syrian regime. These battles did not affect factions’ control over areas.
Jusoor Center for Studies published a map showing the distribution of control which shows that the regime controls 59.8% of Syrian territory as recorded in July 2018. ISIS maintains the area under its control despite the battles it has witnessed on the area’s eastern and southern fronts. Based on the July recording, ISIS continues to control 2.4% of Syrian territory.
The armed opposition forces control 10.3% of Syrian territory as recorded in August 2018. Similarly, the SDF continue to control 27.5% of territory.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced that has finished establishing a buffer zone in the fourth de-escalation zone on 10 October 2018. The announcement was made on that date as agreed upon with the Russian side in the Sochi Agreement of 17 September 2018. As part of the arrangement, the Syrian opposition factions completed their de-mobilization of heavy weaponry from the buffer zone.
The SDF continued their military operation launched in May 2018 to take control of the last pockets of land controlled by ISIS in the Hajin-Baghouz area, east of the Euphrates River. The SDF managed to advance slowly on 1 October, gaining control of 1 kilometer of ISIS held territory. The advancing forces benefited from the Iranian bombardment of ISIS positions in Jib Hajin with ballistic missiles. Breaking ISIS’s frontline defenses resulted in more but slow SDF advancement. ISIS responded with consecutive attacks against the SDF (QSD) positions regaining all the positions it lost the Badia camp Hajin, al-Kamsheh and al-Bahra.
After the violent battles, the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG) sent special forces to participate in taking control of Jib Hajin on 29 October. The YPG have since temporarily halted their campaign against ISIS in Deir Ez Zor countryside, because of the Turkish army attacks on them in Ain al-Arab/Kobani according to their statements.