Militants of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) continued their offensive in the eastern part of Homs province on Friday attacking Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions around the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmor) and T-4 Airbase.
Pace of the aforementioned terrorist group advance has significantly slowed down due to stiff resistance of the SAA units stationed around Palmyra and relentless airstrikes by Russian and Syrian Air Forces. However, despite all that, ISIS jihadists did manage to advance today, capturing Hallabat castle area located to the south of Palmyra. Also, after almost 24 hours of non-stop clashes ISIS militants were able to capture Jabal Hiyal (Hiyal Mountain) forcing the army troops to retreat.
Due to the power of initial ISIS onslaught the SAA units were also forced to retreat from Al-Mahr Oil Field and Jazal oil wells No.17, 18, 19 and 20. On the other hand, terrorists failed to capture the abandoned military base and Palmyra silos area.
Government forces are now concentrated at a new gathering point in Jahar Oil Field area where they are currently regrouping and preparing to counterattack. Moreover, SAA’s High Command has sent massive reinforcements to Palmyra countryside to repel ISIS offensive and eventually reverse all the enemy’s gains. According to reports, the counterattack is set to begin tomorrow in the morning.
Meanwhile, with southeastern part of Aleppo city being about to fall sooner or later, Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF) have switched their attention to eastern Homs countryside striking ISIS movements and positions around the clock. Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) has also been particularly active in this area acting in coordination with RuAF and SAA’s ground forces.
Reports received by Al-Masdar News suggest that ISIS offensive became possible after massive relocation of the terrorist group’s forces from Deir Ezzor front towards eastern Homs.
In Deir Ezzor city, situation remains relatively calm with only airstrikes and artillery fire interrupting the quiet from time to time. In the meantime, an SAA unit was able to shoot down an ISIS drone that had been scouting Army’s positions near Jabal Thardeh (Thardeh Mountain). Shown below are the photos of the drone:
Map credits: Peto Lucem.