Early this morning, Hezbollah fighters spearheaded an offensive at Al-Eis town and its adjacent hill. However, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda) fighters were well prepared for the assault and managed to push back pro-government troops to their original positions on the outskirts of the town after conducting a succesful ambush.
While the offensive was lead by Hezbollah, they were flanked shoulder-by-shoulder by the Iranian 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade and Kata’ib Hezbollah fighters (Iraqi Hezbollah-affiliate). Although the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 154th Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division is stationed nearby, the actual assault was conducted exclusively by foreigners.
Remarkably, pro-government troops were able to capture the majority of al-Eis town (confirmed) in the early noon after Jabhat al-Nusra temporarily retreated from the town under heavy shelling. However, Jabhat al-Nusra was able to maintain control of al-Eis hill; once the shelling stopped, al-Qaeda fighters reentered the town and enforced a government retreat.
While opposition sources claimed the death toll to be between 50 and 75 fighters/soldiers, the actual death toll was about 20 on the government side of the battle. Today’s Al-Nusra Front death toll is unknown to al-Masdar News, despite constant shelling and Russian jets ruling the sky above.
Notably, it has been deemed “impossible” to capture al-Eis town without capturing al-Eis hill as the latter overlooks the aforementioned town.
Meanwhile, new reports indicate a 2nd government assault on al-Eis is coming up before the end of the day. However, it would likely be smarter from a strategic point of view to outflank and encircle the town if government forces wish to recapture this vital high point.