On Monday morning, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) continued its large-scale offensive in the eastern part of the Homs Governorate, as the terrorist group targeted a number of sites controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF) around the Al-Sha’ar Mountains and the outskirts of the ancient city of Palmyra.
ISIS began Monday by attacking the Syrian Arab Army’s 18th Tank Battalion at Jazal in the Al-Sha’ar Mountains, where they attempted to regain control of this village located near the Syrian Government’s strategic power grids and gas fields that provide electricity and gas to the residents of western Syria; this militant attack was later repelled after four hours of non-stop fighting.
West of the ancient city of Palmyra, the militants from ISIS attacked the National Defense Forces at Al-Qurayteen and Al-Farqalas, where they attempted to breach the latter’s frontline defenses in these predominately Christian villages located 35 km from the outskirts of the provincial capital of Homs.
However, ISIS’ attack was repelled, as the Syrian Armed Forces were given a big boost from the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF), who relentlessly bombarded the enemy combatants that attempted to reinforce their entrenched comrades at the villages of Al-Qurayteen and Al-Farqalas.
The Syrian Air Force did not stop there: the SAAF launched a total of 79 airstrikes on Monday, targeting the towns of Jabab Ahmad, Al-Shandakhiyah, ‘Umm Suhreej, Al-Taybeh, and ‘Ayn Bardeh in the Al-Badiyah area; this is likely the beginning of the SAAF’s bombardments, as the prevalence and intensity of these airstrikes will increase in the coming days.
With ISIS concentrating their militants near the Tiyas Airbase in east Homs, the Syrian Arab Army’s 550th Brigade and the 18th Tank Battalion are preparing for a counter-assault at the ancient city of Palmyra, where they are currently positioned one kilometer away from the city’s walls.