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The Syrian desert

Warning: this story appeared on Saturday in Netziv Net, an Israeli news website that gets its news from available online sources, often without citations—as is the case in this report. We have found it to be reliable in the past. DI

On Tuesday evening last week, an Iranian force operating in the Syrian desert east of the city of Tadmor disappeared and all contact with it was lost.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) / IRNA

The entire area of the ​​eastern Homs district which is known as the Syrian Desert is a huge no man’s land. The Syrian army, together with the Iranians and the Russians, have been making a great effort to take control over it, but ISIS fighters, who have lost their grip of areas throughout the inhabited parts of Syria, have maintained their presence in this harsh and largely impenetrable region – where it is very difficult to operate tanks and armored vehicles.

When the Syrian army has attempted to send armored units to the area to challenge the ISIS presence, the terror group’s fighters have met it using anti-aircraft missiles from miles away. As an interim solution, Syrian military forces have taken over the major traffic arteries crossing the Syrian desert from west to east. Meanwhile, everything between those traffic arteries remains under ISIS control.

At the beginning of last week, a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was moving in the Syrian desert to its destination but never reached it. The Iranians pushed the Syrian army to send large forces into the desert to locate the vanishing force, which is why the 11th Armored Division, which is responsible for security between the city of Tadmor and Deir a-Zor province in the desert for extensive searches. About a year and a half ago, the 11th Armored Division’s commander was killed in battles with ISIS in Deir al-Zor.

At the same time, the Al Fatimion Shi’ite-Afghani brigade also sent troops to help locate the missing Revolutionary Guards. An Iranian force from the Al Fatimion brigade ran into an ISIS ambush on one of the traffic arteries between Tadmor and the city of Al-Sukhnah (east of Homs), and a senior commander was killed along with several other fighters.

So far, there has been no sign of the missing Iranian force.

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