BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:52 A.M.) – The ISIS terrorist group has launched a well-executed counter-offensive against the Osoud Al-Sharqiya rebel group (a US/ Jordanian-backed Free Syrian Army franchise) on the border region between the provinces of Homs and East Qalamoun.

ISIS launched its assault out the so-called Mahsaa salient, this area being the small, but all-important territorial wedge that ISIS has driven between FSA-held East Qalamoun and FSA-held desert areas to the southeast. The ISIS counter-stroke came after a fortnight of encroaching FSA gains against the terrorist group which where aimed at expelling it in the direction of Homs province and lifting the the siege on East Qalamoun.

So far, ISIS has managed to recapture Manqourah, Zibedah , Dab’ and Daba’ and, consequentially, the Osoud Al-Sharqiya group has been forced onto the defensive for the time being.

As a result of this counter-offensive, ISIS has effectively reaffirmed and reinforced its siege of FSA-held East Qalamoun, which only twelve hours ago seemed to be on the verge of being broken. In doing so the Jihadist group has demonstrated that it will not easily surrender this strategic foothold in the Syrian desert despite other military pressures being placed on it in eastern Homs and Raqqah.

 

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Sean_in_Nyc

No doubt the SAAF’s bombing yesterday of this rebel group, one of the genuinely secular rebel forces that were focused entirely on ISIS, was a major factor in this ISIS victory. While I support Assad, for the last couple of years OAS has largely avoided conflict with government forces. Even then they were usually reacting to random air and/or artillery attacks against them by the Syrian government. SOA have their hands full with ISIS, and we’re likely to come to some accommodation after OAS helps drive ISIS out of Deir Ezzor. There may be some immediate tactical advantage for Assad… Read more »