While most international attention has been focused on the “post-caliphate” Islamic State insurgencies in northeast Syria and Iraq, ISIS has steadily carried out an ever-expanding insurgency against the Syrian regime and its allies in central Syria. The insurgency began immediately following the Syrian regime’s capture of this area in late 2017 and has continued unabated since.
On August 18, 2020, Russian Major General Vyacheslav Gladkikh was killed alongside a senior Syrian regime commander and four others while driving through the Tayem Gas Field near Deir Ez Zor city. These were the 20th and 21st high ranking officers killed by ISIS in central Syria since January 2019.
ISIS cells operating out of bases in the mountains north of Palmyra and Sukhnah, in the south Raqqah countryside, and in the cities and desert west of the Euphrates have grown in strength over the past year and a half, expanding the geographic reach and effectiveness of their attacks.