The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has captured the ancient Syriac Christian city of Al-Qurayteen after fierce clashes with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Al-Ba’ath Battalion on Thursday afternoon, leaving the hundreds of remaining civilians under the occupation of this terrorist group’s strict rule.
Following the capture of Al-Qurayteen, ISIS gathered the remaining residents to the city-center, where they hand-selected over 30 civilians that were allegedly Syrian government “spies” and/or “sympathizers” – their whereabouts are currently unknown; however, local activists were able to identify the 30 plus civilians under ISIS’ captivity.
According to a military source in east Homs, ISIS militants used their sleeper cells inside the city to bypass the Syrian Armed Forces’ frontline defenses; this also paved the way for two successful vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) to detonate at the defensive barricades around the southeastern perimeter.
Despite the intensity of the Syrian Arab Air Force’s airstrikes, the terrorist group is still in full control of Al-Qurayteen; however, the Syrian Arab Army’s 550th Brigade has arrived to assist the civilian-led militias recapture this Syriac Christian city in east Homs.
Meanwhile, to the east of Al-Qurayteen, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division – in coordination with Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces – have advanced to the village of Al-‘Abbasiyah in the southern countryside of Palmyra (Tadmur).
Firefights are still ongoing to the south of Palmyra, as the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah attempt to flank this ancient city that is located inside the vast desert of eastern Syria.