The Syrian Arab Army’s 555th Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division began their surprise offensive in the Hama Governorate’s northeastern countryside early last week, capturing several strategic points and hilltops from the Islalmic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway.
On Saturday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 555th Brigade and their allies imposed full control over Al-Massbah, Point 4, Point 5, and a number of other small hilltops near the Zakiyah Crossroad, which is located just of the Hama-Raqqa border.
While the Zakiyah Crossroad is under their control, the imperative desert city has still not been captured from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS); this is due to the aforementioned terrorist groups roadside bombs that are slowing down the government forces from advancing deep in the southwestern Al-Raqqa countryside.
The primary objective is to reach the Tabaqa Military Airport, which is located along the northern section of the Sakhanah-Strayef Road in the Al-Raqqa Governorate.
In order to reach the Sakhanah-Strayef Road, the Syrian Armed Forces will have to capture 27 km of territory along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway before arriving to the strategic Strayef Crossroad.
Currently, the Syrian Armed Forces and ISIS are fighting at the Ithriyah Oil Field near Zakiyah village, where the former is attempting to advance past the terrorist group’s defenses.