The Syrian Arab Army’s 66th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division has been immersed in a fierce battle with the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) for control of the strategic Khanasser-Ithriya Highway that leads to the Syrian Government controlled areas of the Aleppo Governorate; and as a result of this battle, the pro-government forces have been forced to abandon their southern Aleppo offensive in order to reopen this imperative supply route.

On Thursday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 66th Brigade received a much needed boost when a contingent from Hezbollah arrived from the town of Khanasser to help drive the ISIS terrorists from the long stretch of hills that are spread across this desolate area in the Hama Governorate’s northeastern countryside.

Hezbollah’s presence proved successful, as they were able to recover the integral hilltop at Tal Ithriya after a series of intense firefights with ISIS; this has allowed for the Syrian Armed Forces to concentrate some of their units to the Sheikh Hilal front, where they confronted another ISIS assault on this town located along the Raqqa-Salamiyah Highway.

Luckily, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to defeat the encroaching ISIS terrorists attempting to push north towards the town of Sheikh Hilal, while also defeating another terrorist assault near the town of Al-Sa’an.

The Khanasser-Ithriyah Highway is still closed due to ISIS’ presence along the northern hills overlooking the main road that is used by the Syrian Arab Army and their allies; if it still remains closed, the Syrian Government will have to rely on airdrops in order to resupply their forces in Aleppo.

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According to a source from the Syrian Arab Army inside the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate, the 66th Brigade and Hezbollah have less than 1km of territory left to go before the Khanasser-Ithriya Highway is reopened.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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