U.S.-Backed Forces Announce Anti-ISIS Push In Syria’s Oil-Rich East by Louisa Loveluck - Washington Post
U.S.-backed forces in Syria announced a fresh offensive around the Islamic State’s most important remaining stronghold Saturday, accelerating a global scramble for control of the country’s oil-rich east.
Islamic State militants are under pressure from all sides in the border province of Deir al-Zour, facing down competing offensives involving almost all of the six-year war’s major players, as the extremist group’s self-declared caliphate crumbles across Syria and Iraq.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-dominated militia supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, said Saturday that they would clear the Islamist militants from territory east of the Euphrates River.
“We at the military council decided to start this decisive operation,” said Abu Khawlah, a spokesman for the militia. Dubbed “Operation Jazeera Storm,” the offensive will take place in the Khabur River valley, the coalition said in a separate statement, adding that it planned to hand the area over to a civilian council…