DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:45 P.M.) – Moments ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) severed nearly one hundred ISIS-held villages in central Syria from the Islamic State mainland further east.
According to Al-Masdar News correspondent Ibrahim Joudeh, a long-standing jihadist controlled region that stretches from eastern Hama to central Homs has been entirely encircled by the SAA due to a broad front offensive entailing multiple simultaneous pincers over the past week.
The military source said SAA troops pushed north of the Al-Shaer Mountain and met up with the SAA’s Tiger Forces that in the same time pushed south of Ithriyah, thereby cutting off all ISIS roads leading from Deir Ezzor to the oil-rich pocket in central Syria that remains anchored around the by now vulnerable Islamic State stronghold of Uqraybat.
A second smaller ISIS enclave has also formed south of the Ithriyah-Zakia highway due to a second government push led by Major General Suheil Al-Hassan.
In the coming weeks, the SAA hopes to eliminate both pockets and expel ISIS from central Syria once and for all. Once this task is achieved, government forces will free up tens of thousands of troops for an eastern thrust that aims to secure Deir Ezzor city.
Click here for an updated interactive battle map of Syria.