ABU KAMAL, Syria – A video was recently released by the Syrian Army shows Syrian Army helmet cam GoPro combat footage during heavy clashes between the Syrian Army and ISIS during combat in the battle for Abu Kamal in eastern Syria in late 2017.
The scenes feature intense close urban combat showing the Syrian army advancing in heavy firefights during street to street battles and house to house fighting in order to clear the city from ISIS presence.
According to Syrian media the Syrian army raids were successful and Syrian government tropps and its allies were able to liberate the town located in Deir Ezzor province.
Abu Kamal, also known as Al-Bukamal, is a city on the Euphrates river in the Deir Ezzor province of eastern Syria near the border with Iraq. It is the administrative center of the Abu Kamal District and the local subdistrict (Abu Kamal Subdistrict). Just to the southeast is the Al-Qa’im border crossing to the town of Husaybah in the Al-Qa’im District of Iraq’s Al-Anbar Governorate.
Owing to its distance from the frontline, the town would see little fighting between its capture by ISIL in 2014 and ISIL’s retreat in 2017. During the lull in conflict, the town was the target of a failed opposition attack by the US-backed New Syrian Army in June 2016; the offensive lasted only a day and led to a total reversal of New Syrian Army advances to Abu Kamal.
On October 14, 2017 the Syrian Arab Army took the city of Mayadin, located 80 kilometers from Abu Kamal. After that Abu Kamal was the only large city that remained under control of ISIS.
On October 25, the road Al Qaim – Abu Kamal – Mayadin – Deir ez-Zor was blocked after a series of airstrikes conducted by Russian Air Force.
From 1 to 4 November 6 Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers conducted airstrikes on ISIS objects near Abu Kamal. On November 7 the SAA started operation to take Abu Kamal with support of allied forces, like the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC).
On 9 November 2017, ISIL retreated from the town, leaving fighters dispersed in villages and small towns in the desert. Army spokesman Gen. Ali Mayhoub stated:
″The liberation of Abu Kamal is of great importance because it is a declaration of the fall of this group’s project in the region generally and the collapse of its supporters’ illusions to divide it, control large parts of the Syria-Iraq borders and secure supply routes between the two countries.″
One day later Commander of the Russian force grouping in Syria Colonel General Sergei Surovikin confirmed the retaking of Abu Kamal:
“Units of the 5th Assault Corps, assault groups of brigadier general Suheil and militias with support of Russian Air Force took part in liberating Abu Kamal. In the final stages of hostilities the Syrian Arab Army gained control over the Syrian-Iraqi border near the Euphrates River”.
On November 11, the city was however recaptured by ISIL.
The Syrian Army and its allies retook complete control of the city by 19 November.