DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:20 P.M.) – On Wednesday, the Tiger Forces liberated four more villages near Deir Hafer after intense clashes with ISIS fighters throughout the day.
With air support from Russia, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was thus able to impose full control over the villages of Umm Zulaylah, Tall Ayoub, Hazazeh and Al-Kreen. Pro-government tribal fighters from the Al-Baqir tribe were also involved in the offensive.
Effectively, the SAA’s elite assault troops have conducted a rapid pincer manuever which has almost fully ringed Deir Hafer, leaving jihadist combattants only a small southeastern line of retreat along the M4-Highway towards Raqqa.
By allowing ISIS an option to withdraw, government forces hope to avoid the looming urban battle for Deir Hafer which would likely cause the SAA heavy casualties.
In addition, a few dozen ISIS fighters are trapped inside the villages of Tall Al-Ahmar, Rasm Al-Abed and Asimiyah. Notably, the SAA has fire control over this besieged area.
However, footage released by Amaq Agency suggests the Islamic State still boasts a large fighting force near Deir Hafer. Last night, jihadist fighters almost overran the government-held villages of Qutbiyah and Umm Arkilah but were eventually repelled by the SAA.
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) March 15, 2017
Over the past two months, the Tiger Forces have liberated over 200 villages in the eastern Aleppo countryside, thereby not only living up to their fearsome reputation but also arguably proving to be the most effective fighting force against ISIS.
HD map here.