Maskanah Plains offensive

The Maskanah Plains offensive was an operation by the Syrian Army against the remaining Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) strongholds in the eastern countryside of the Aleppo Province, with the goal of recapturing the Maskanah Plains from ISIL and advancing into the Raqqa Governorate.

Maskanah Plains offensive
Part of the Syrian Civil War and the Russian military intervention in Syria
Date9 May 2017[1] – 8 June 2017
(4 weeks and 2 days)
Eastern Aleppo Governorate and southwestern Raqqa Governorate, Syria

Syrian Army victory


Syrian Arab Republic


Al-Quds Brigade[5]
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders
Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan Abu Musab al-Masri 
(Minister of War)[6]
Abu Uday Al-Iraqi [2]
Units involved

Syrian Armed Forces

Liwa al-Quds[7]

Al-Baggara tribe militias[7][8]
Military of ISIL
Casualties and losses
156–184 killed (10 May–30 June)[9] 32+ killed (by 18 May)[10]


Between January and April 2017, the Syrian Army conducted an offensive that saw them capture the city of Dayr Hafir, the towns of Tadef and Al-Khafsah, and nearly 250 villages from ISIL.[11][12] They also managed to cut off the Turkish Army from advancing further into Syria,[13] and secured the water supply to Aleppo.[14] The offensive was halted in early April, just short of capturing the Jirah airbase, after government forces were redirected to fend off a rebel offensive against Hama.[15]

The offensive

Battle for Jirah airbase

On 9 May, Syrian government forces restarted their operations against ISIL in the eastern countryside of Aleppo,[1] as the Russian Air Force conducted heavy air-strikes against ISIL positions.[16] The next day, government troops captured the village of Al-Mahdoum, after which they quickly attacked two villages southwest of the ISIL-held Jirah airbase. The capture of the villages would give the Army fire-control over the airbase.[17][18] However, the assault was eventually repelled due to heavy ISIL anti-tank missile fire.[19] Two suicide-bombers and armed drones were also used by ISIL.[20]

Late on 12 May,[21] Syrian government troops captured the Jirah Airbase.[22] ISIL forces in the Maskanah Plain then launched a counterattack on the airbase.[23] A day later, after the ISIL counterattack was repelled, and the Syrian Army resumed their offensive in the region, capturing the last hill overlooking the airbase.[24]

Capture of Maskanah

Led by the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Army swept through the countryside south and southwest of the airbase on 17 May, capturing 11 villages.[25]

Between 21 and 24 May, the Tiger Forces captured another 11 villages, reaching within 6 km from ISIL's stronghold of Maskanah.[26][27][28]

On 26 May, the Tiger Forces captured a village just three kilometers from Maskanah.[29] The next morning, the Tiger Forces, alongside Al-Baqir tribal fighters, overran large areas east of Lake Jabbul, capturing 11 villages,[30] and thus securing the entirety of Lake Jabbul for the first time since 2014. The same day, the Tiger Forces also took control of Maskanah's train station, as well as other nearby areas, bringing them to 1.5 km from Maskanah.[31][32] Two days later, more advances saw the Syrian Army capture four more villages.[33]

At the start of June, the Army continued with its advances around Maskanah, captured 16 villages and cutting off ISIL's main supply route towards Maskanah, effectively encircling it.[34][35][36] On 3 June, the Syrian Army, led by the Tiger forces, captured Maskanah and the surrounding villages after ISIL fighters withdrew from the area, thus expelling ISIL from its last stronghold in Aleppo governorate.[37] The next day, the Army came reached the boundaries of Ar-Raqqah Governorate after a battle, during which they seized two villages.[38]

Advance to Raqqa's border

On 5 June, the Tiger Forces captured half a dozen villages in Masakanah's countryside, coming close towards fully expelling ISIL from Aleppo Governorate.[39] The next day, government forces captured another six villages, officially reentering Ar-Raqqah province.[4] On 8 June, ISIL's foothold crumbled near Lake Assad, resulting in the withdrawal of the group from areas near it, including around 20 villages, creating a no man's land between the Syrian Army and the Syrian Democratic Forces.[40] By the end of the day, the Army took control of 15 of these villages.[41]

Aftermath – Advance into Raqqa

Mid-June, the Syrian Army started a large advance into the Raqqah governorate, eventually reaching the Ithriya-Tabqa road[42] and capturing the town of Resafa.[43][44]


  1. Tomson, Chris (9 May 2017). "Syrian Army restarts east Aleppo offensive as Russian airstrikes wipe out ISIS militants". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. "Two weeks of Syrian Army's East Aleppo offensive: complete field report". Almasdar. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  3. "Breaking: Syrian Army liberates Maskanah, ISIL expelled from Aleppo". 3 June 2017.
  4. "ISIS on its last legs as Syrian Army liberates six villages in rural Raqqa – Map update". 6 June 2017.
  5. "Syrian Army encircles Maskanah – Palestinian Liwa Al-Quds attacks from Khanasser Road". Veterans Today. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  6. "Syrian army says senior Islamic State militant killed". Reuters. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  7. Tomson, Chris (10 May 2017). "Syrian Army, Palestinian militia dislodge ISIS from strategic town in east Aleppo". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  8. "Syrian tribal leader Nawaf al-Bashir rejoins Assad regime after years of supporting rebels - ARA News". 5 February 2017. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  9. Waters, Gregory (3 October 2018). "Fifteen Months of Death: Pro-Government Casualties of the Syrian Civil War". bellingcat. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  10. "About 50 members of the regime forces and the "Islamic State" organization were killed during the advancement operation towards the last ISIS-controlled town in Aleppo province".
  11. Chris Tomson (28 March 2017). "Syrian Army enters Maskanah Plains as ISIS flees from more villages in eastern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  12. "Syrian army captures major IS stronghold in Aleppo". Indo-Asian News Service. The Financial Express. 30 March 2017.
  13. Adra, Zen (27 February 2017). "Field Report: Syrian Army, Turkish-backed forces vie for control in northern Syria. Map Update".
  14. "Syrian army capture Aleppo water station". 7 March 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  15. "BREAKING: 17 Syrian Army troops killed by ISIS raid in eastern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  16. Fadel, Leith (10 May 2017). "Russian jets hammer ISIL ahead of Syrian military's offensive in east Aleppo". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  17. Fadel, Leith (10 May 2017). "Syrian Army blitzes last two east Aleppo villages southwest of strategic airbase". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  18. "Regime forces control an important village and approaches from a new area to al-Jarrah airbase". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  19. Adra, Zen (11 May 2017). "In Pictures: Syrian Army stumbles in East Aleppo as ISIS fights back". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  20. Tomson, Chris (11 May 2017). "VIDEO: Twin ISIS suicide bombings severely hamper Syrian Army offensive in Aleppo". Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  21. Fadel, Leith (12 May 2017). "Breaking: Syrian Army liberates strategic airbase in east Aleppo".
  22. "Syria army seizes airbase from ISIS: Monitor".
  23. Fadel, Leith (13 May 2017). "ISIL launches counter-attack to recapture lost airbase in east Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  24. Fadel, Leith (14 May 2017). "Syrian Army advances south of strategic airbase in east Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  25. Fadel, Leith (17 May 2017). "Battle for east Aleppo intensifies as Syrian Army troops advance towards ISIL stronghold". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  26. Illingworth, Andrew (21 May 2017). "BREAKING: Tiger Forces liberate two sites from ISIS in eastern Aleppo CS". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  27. Illingworth, Andrew (23 May 2017). "Map: Syrian Army juggernaut annihilates ISIS defenses in eastern Aleppo countryside". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  28. "ISIS Is On Run In Eastern Aleppo. Tiger Forces Liberate 5 More Villages". 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  29. "Tiger Forces Increase Pressure On ISIS Stronghold Of Maskana, Liberate Al-Sukariya". 26 May 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  30. Tomson, Chris (27 May 2017). "Syrian Army liberates 11 villages along Lake Jabbul in rural Aleppo after huge ISIS collapse". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  31. "Syrian Army seizes Maskanah train station as ISIS clings on to its last Aleppo stronghold". 27 May 2017.
  32. Tomson, Chris (27 May 2017). "ISIS devastated as Syrian Army liberates more sites in blitz offensive through rural Aleppo". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  33. "Military Situation In Eastern Part Of Aleppo Province After Recent Gains By Syrian Army (Map)". 29 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  34. Castro, Ivan (1 June 2017). "Syrian Army makes significant progress near last ISIS stronghold in East Aleppo (map update)". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  35. Fadel, Leith (2 June 2017). "Syrian Army, Palestinian forces secure key highway in east Aleppo". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  36. Fadel, Leith (2 June 2017). "Syrian Army cuts ISIL's main supply route from Aleppo to Raqqa". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  37. Fadel, Leith (3 June 2017). "Breaking: Syrian Army liberates Maskanah, ISIL expelled from Aleppo". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  38. Fadel, Leith (4 June 2017). "Syrian Army advances on Raqqa border after Maskanah's capture". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  39. Fadel, Leith (5 June 2017). "Syrian Army continues march to Raqqa, several villages captured". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  40. "Syrian Army on the roll as ISIS retreats from 20 villages in western Raqqa". AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  41. قوات النظام تتوغل داخل الريف الغربي للرقة وتسيطر على 15 قرية على حساب تنظيم”الدولة الإسلامية”
  42. "Syrian Army Takes Control Of Rusafah Junction At Ithriyah-Tabqah Road After Liberating Over Dozen Villages". 13 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  43. "Syrian government forces liberate Rusafa town in southwest Raqqa". 19 June 2017.
  44. "After the International Coalition downs a warplane over it, the regime forces take control of Al-Resafa city".
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