Thursday, March 31, 2016

Syrian Civil War Control Map: April 2016

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Syria updates.

Map of fighting and territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army rebels, Kurdish YPG, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Al-Nusra Front, Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and others), updated for the beginning of April 2016. Now includes terrain and major roads (highways). Highlights recent locations of conflict and territorial control changes, including Palmyra, Qaryatayn, Deir Ez-Zor, and more. (Color blind accessible.)
Base map by Koen Adams of, with territorial control by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic. All rights reserved.
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Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Recapture of Palmyra
Since our previous Syria control map report in early March, the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad has recaptured the historic city of Palmyra (known in modern Arabic as Tadmur) from the so-called "Islamic State" (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL). The military has also pushed back against IS in Qaryatain, one of the group's westernmost outposts, even as IS is showing an increasingly prominent presence in the southwestern corner of Syria near the Golan Heights. Meanwhile, fighting between government and anti-Assad rebel forces has continued, though at a relatively low level, since the implementation of the UN-brokered ceasefire.

Flag of Syria under the current government Country Name:  
• Syria (English)
• Sūriyya/Sūryā (Arabic)
Official Name:  
• Syrian Arab Republic (English)
• al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah  as-Sūriyyah (Arabic)
Capital: Damascus
Note: Red triangles on the map represent towns where Jabhat al-Nusra (a.k.a. the Nusra Front) is thought to be near the top of the power hierarchy, even if it doesn't exercise exclusive control. It remains the case that there is some amount of Nusra presence in almost every rebel-held area in Syria, but it is not always the dominant group.

Timeline of Events
The following is a timeline of changes to territorial control and other key events in Syria since our previous map update of March 9, 2016.

March 9, 2016
The army captured five villages east of the Khanaser-Aleppo Road. Meanwhile, the military advanced towards a town on the border between Latakia and Idlib provinces, during which they captured a mountaintop overlooking the town. However, later in the day, the rebels recaptured the hill.

March 10, 2016
Dozens of Russian airstrikes on Palmyra killed 32 IS fighters. The strikes were seen as a prelude to a major army offensive to capture the city.

March 15-17, 2016
Government forces captured a mountain in Deir Ezzor, as well as large parts of the Deir Ezzor-Mayadeen highway near the city, advancing to a nearby oil field.

March 17, 2016
The military made advances in the eastern part of Homs province, capturing a mountaintop near Qaryatain.

Map of Islamic State and Kurdish control in Iraq as of December 2015
"Islamic State" and Kurdish control in Iraq (click for full map)
March 19, 2016
The rebels captured two villages from IS north of Aleppo.

March 20, 2016
The army seized two or four positions in Latakia province.

March 21-24, 2016
On March 21, IS captured two towns, including Tasil, from rebels in Daraa province. Between March 23 and 24, IS captured another two towns and was contesting two more. Eventually, IS forces were repelled from the two contested towns, but surrounded one more on the border with Jordan.

March 26, 2016
The army advanced in an area of East Ghouta, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.

Map of control in Libya as of August 2015, including the so-called Islamic State (ISIS)
"Islamic State" (IS) control in Libya (click for full map)
March 27, 2016
The army captured the desert city of Palmyra, along with its famous 2,000-year-old ruins. Two large temples and a Roman triumphal archway that were part of the ruins had been destroyed by IS during its 10-month occupation of the city. However, it was confirmed that 80 percent of the Unesco World Heritage site was intact. Still, destruction and damage brought upon artifacts at the Palmyra museum were said to be shocking. During the battle for Palmyra, there were no civilian deaths, but 612 combatants were confirmed killed, including 417 IS fighters and 194 government soldiers and militiamen, as well as one Russian special forces soldier.

March 29, 2016
The army made advances around IS-held Qaryatayn, southeast of Homs, capturing several hills and effectively encircling the town.

March 29-30, 2016
Rebels captured two villages from IS north of Aleppo, while the SDF attempted to advance in the area of another village.

March 30-31, 2016
Rebels recaptured two hills and a checkpoint in Daraa province that they had lost recently to IS. However, the following day, IS reportedly captured a new village in Daraa province.

Graphic of the Syrian flag is in the public domain (source).