The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) recent gains on the eastern Homs front has created a great deal of apprehension for both the Syrian and Lebanese Armed Forces, as the terrorist group continues to stretch their positions further west of Palmyra.
For the Syrian Armed Forces, ISIS’ capture of Al-Qurayteen was a decisive blow to both their morale and their defense of Homs City, as the terrorist group advanced as far west as the predominately Christian city of Maheen.
Luckily for the Syrian Armed Forces, they were able to secure the city of Maheen after fierce firefights with ISIS on Sunday, leaving over 20 enemy combatants dead, while also destroying four of their armored vehicles that were mounted with 23mm anti-aircraft machine guns.
Following their success at Maheen, a large contingent of reinforcements from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) arrived at the city from nearby Sadad in order to provide a boost to their embattled comrades and to retake Al-Qurayteen.
If the Syrian Armed Forces are unable to retake Al-Qurayteen, ISIS will possess the ability to flank the city of Farqalas to the northwest, which will provide them access to the provincial capital and to the Tiyas Military Airport.
Assisting the Syrian Armed Forces from the air, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) has recently intensified their airstrikes over east Homs in order to alleviate the pressure on the ground.
Despite all of this assistance, the Syrian Armed Forces have no committed to a full-scale offensive to recapture Al-Qurayteen yet; if they do, this will require them to push southeast towards the Iraqi border.