In addition to updates on the situation, our updated Syria control map now distinguishes the territory of extremist groups ISIS and Al-Nusra from that of Free Syrian Army or mixed rebel coalitions. (To see other maps in this series, view all Syria updates.)
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Al-Nusra and the ISIS
In addition to updates on the situation since our previous Syria war map, this edition of the map also shows which cities are controlled primarily by religious extremist groups the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (also translated from Arabic as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). While these groups share many of their goals with the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups fighting the Assad government, and in many cases still cooperate strategically with those groups, they are increasingly emerging as a separate bloc in the multi-sided conflict.
Country Name: |
• Syria (English)
• Sūriyya/Sūryā (Arabic)
• Syrian Arab Republic (English)
• al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah (Arabic)
Although most rebel territory in Syria is still occupied by mixed rebel coalitions or FSA affiliates, several cities and towns are now known to be primarily under ISIS and/or Al-Nusra control. ISIS's area of control is mostly in the northwest, stretching from provincial capital Raqqah to key towns in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, and all the way to the far western rebel outpost of Salma in Latakia province. Al-Nusra, though present across most of the country, is especially known to control territory in the east, where it has held the oil town of Shadadeh for some months now. It has also recently captured the Al-Omar Oil Field, Syria's largest. Al-Nusra has made headlines in Western countries recently by repeatedly harassing and occupying the historic Christian town of Maaloula north of Damascus.
Government Advances in the North
The largest change in territorial control since our August Syria map update has been the army's recapture of Al-Safira, a satellite city of Aleppo which is also the location of a major chemical weapons stockpile. Rebels had captured the city early this year, but government forces took it back last month as part of a campaign to reopen the back road from Homs to Aleppo. The nearby town of Khanaser was recaptured one month earlier, after having fallen into rebel hands just after our last update in August.
Ariha, an important town in the northwestern Idlib province, was also recaptured by government forces in early September, after switching back and forth in control more than once over the course of the war.
Damascus and Surroundings
Syria's capital city of Damascus has continued to be a focal point in the war, with rebel and government forces fighting fiercely for control of its many suburbs (map). Meanwhile, one of the most active fronts in recent weeks has been the area between Damascus and Homs, where the Syrian military and its ally Hezbollah from Lebanon have been trying hard to root rebels out from a mountainous region along the border. In addition to the Christian town of Maaloula mentioned earlier, rebel possessions in this region also include the town of Yabroud, with the government having captured Qara last month and Nabek just a week ago.
The South and East
The southern Syrian province of Daraa has continued to be a major front for fighting over the last several months, with a coalition of various rebel groups capturing the border crossing next to Daraa city in October. Meanwhile, in far northeastern Hasakah, Kurdish militias have seized the Yarabiya border crossing from a coalition of ISIS, Al-Nusra, and other groups. This is the main border crossing into Iraq from northern Syria, though the Kurdish National Council had previously set up a temporary crossing to the north. The area across this border is part of Iraq's official autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Also in Kurdish-majority Hasakah province, this edition of the map has been adjusted to reflect the fact that the city of Al-Hasakah itself is apparently under partial Kurdish control.
Graphic of the Syrian flag is in the public domain (source).