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Jad Yateem

Mapping Syria's divided north and east

NOW presents a detailed military map of Syria's most complex fronts

The international community has agreed in principle to prevent both the opposition and the Syrian regime from securing a decisive military victory. Fierce battles are therefore expected as each side seeks to shift the military balance of power and shake the political deadlock that hampered the Geneva II conference.

Most fronts in Syria are seeing comparatively minor skirmishes. But the map is more complex in Syria's north and east, especially in the eastern governorates of Al-Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasaka and the northern governorates of Idlib and Aleppo, where almost all fighting factions of the opposition are present.


This military map in the north and east witnessed huge changes that caused the picture to drastically change, especially after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the coalition of Islamic brigades waged war on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) starting on January 4, 2014.


NOW provides a detailed map of the north and east based on military and field sources from various sides of the Syrian opposition.

"The map is more complex in Syria’s north and east, especially in the eastern governorates of Al-Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasaka and the northern governorates of Idlib and Aleppo, where almost all fighting factions of the opposition are present." 1. Distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Deir Ezzor

The city of Deir Ezzor
The regime controls multiple areas within the city of Deir Ezzor, mainly the Joura and Al-Qousour neighborhoods and the Tala'eh area, in addition to military bases such as the military airport, the Tala'eh camp, Al-Jabal, and Brigade 137 on the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile, the most important neighborhoods in the city are controlled by opposition forces, including Rashdiyyah and Huwayqah. The opposition has also made tremendous progress in other besieged neighborhoods, including Al-Sinaaa, Al-Ummal, Al-Mouwazzafin, and Al-Jubaylah. A stifling siege is imposed on the Deir Ezzor military airport, which remains a conflict zone. Jabhat al-Nusra forces are spread along the Huwayqah and Rashdiyyah fronts.


Deir Ezzor's western and eastern provinces

This region is under FSA control and represents an extremely large portion of Syria. It used to be home to large regime bases, which the FSA subsequently gained control over in less than one year.

In the city and province of Deir Ezzor, ISIS is now only present in the Manjam al-Milh area, which is its last stronghold in the whole governorate following the battles between ISIS and other rebel factions in cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra. Most ISIS forces were evicted toward the Governorate of Hasaka, particularly to the Markada area, while other ISIS members fled toward Al-Raqqa.


For more information on the distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Deir Ezzor,click here

2. Distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Hasaka


The city of Al-Qamishli
The provincial capital is under regime control even as the FSA presence in the city is undertaking covert actions against regime forces.

The FSA mainly controls Ras al-Ayn, Al-Yaarubiyyah, and the eastern and southern provinces of the governorate. PKK forces and other Kurdish factions, the FSA, Jabhat al-Nusra, and ISIS are present in most areas.


Key regime bases in Hasaka

All bases in Jabal Kawkab, the Maylabiyyah regiment, and the city of Al-Qamishli are critical.

The most important border crossings in Hasaka

The Al-Yaarubiyyah crossing has recently come under PKK control with help from regime and Iraqi forces in an overt, full-force attack.

The Ras al-Ayn crossing is also controlled by the PKK thanks to open support from Iraqi troops.


3. Distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Al-Raqqa


The city of Al-Raqqa
Al-Raqqa is the provincial capital and is controlled by ISIS, which regained dominance there following violent battles with the Free Syrian Army, Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, and other factions in January.
4. Distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Aleppo
[As of 21/2/2014]

The city of Aleppo
The FSA, including the Syrian Revolutionary Front and the Mujahideen Army, controls all opposition-held areas in Aleppo. Regime troops control the southern parts of Aleppo, especially Al-Hamadaniyyah, New Aleppo, and parts of Salaheddine.

Northern Aleppo province
ISIS withdrew from the area recently and handed over the border crossing to the Tawheed Brigade, which now controls the Azaz crossing and the Bab al-Salamah crossing about 500 meters away. Turkey reopened the border after ISIS' withdrawal.

Eastern Aleppo province
Jarablus, Menbej, the Tishreen Dam, and Al-Bab are controlled by ISIS.

Western Aleppo province
Hraytan, Qattan Al-Jabal, Al-Mansourah, and Al-Qasimiyyah are controlled by the FSA, with ISIS maintaining a few roadblocks.

Darat Ezza is home to the ISIS headquarters in the Sheikh Suleiman Barracks. However, the FSA is in total control of the area. The FSA overtook the Jabal Maarrat al-Artiq area on January 26, 2014 from regime troops.

Southern Aleppo province
This area is controlled by regime forces. The most important regions are Khanasser, Al-Sfayrah, and Maamel al-Difaa.

For more information on the distribution of military forces in the Governorate of Aleppo,click here

5. Distribution of military forces in the province of Idlib

The city of Idlib
The regime has complete control over the area.

Western Idlib province
This area is home to Jabal al-Zawiya and is controlled by the FSA.

Maarrat al-Nu'man and its eastern province are controlled by the FSA. The same holds true for Saraqeb, which came under FSA control after being held by ISIS before the January 4 battles.

Northern Idlib province
The FSA controls Harem, Salqin, Ezzmarin, and Al-Dana. ISIS regained control of Darkush following battles with the FSA in January. During these battles, ISIS took advantage of a Jabhat al-Nusra mediation push in which neutral Nusra forces would enter the city while waving white flags in order to take over the battle lines, only to have ISIS bring in its own forces to drive out the FSA.

Border crossings with Turkey in Idlib
ISIS managed to gain control over most border crossings following the Adha attack. Bab al-Hawa is the only crossing that is still under the control of the FSA and the Islamic Front.

This article has been translated from the original Arabic.
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  • mnm.racer

    The author of this report must have been smoking pot while writing this article....yarubiyah and ras al ayn are under complete YPG(not PKK) countrol. The FSA is almost entirely absent in hasakah...the sunni arab rebels in hasakah are represented by the ISIS, the jabhat al nusra as well as some islamic front elements(most notably, the ahrar al sham). Its really shocking to see such a horribly written article being published by the site of one as reputed as Mr Joshua Landis. I urge him to delete this crappy article immediately...the owner of this article cant be bothered, since he's probably still busy smoking pot.

    March 16, 2014

  • Markiplier

    The writer of this report (Jad) is completely wrong on Hasaka governorate, i think they probably have no clue what is going on. Ras al Ayn (or Serekaniye as its commonly known) has been completely controlled by the YPG since they defeated and drove out opposition forces from the town (both FSA and Islamists like Ahrar al Sham, ISIS, Nusra) back in 2013, same goes for Yarroubiya town itself (interesting note: the arab tribes there have been aligned with YPG ever since they defeated and driven out opposition forces from there) there is almost no opposition (i.e. FSA/Islamists/Nusra/ISIS) in the cities of Qamishili and Hasaka except for YPG and other kurdish-aligned militias like the syriac sutoro, asayish police force etc. The only Place where the opposition (i.e. FSA/Islamists/Nusra/ISIS) has presence in Hasaka governorate is the southernmost city of Al-Shaddadi close to the border with Deir-Ez-Zor, and a few arab Hamlets and Rural villages between the cities of Qamishli and Hasake and Serekaniye (Ras al Ayn). Finally, for the Author (Jad) to claim that PKK is controlling cities and towns and territories in syria just shows their ignorance of the facts on the ground. PKK mainly operates in Turkey and fights for autonomy and rights for Turkey's Kurds, the YPG operates in Syria and fights for autonomy and rights for syria's kurds. Perhaps JAD YATEEM should go back to school and get a better lesson in history and journalism because he sucks at both!!

    March 13, 2014