The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) is preparing for a large-scale offensive inside the northwestern hills of the Qalamoun Mountains after a failed assault on the Al-Qusayr border-crossing in early August; this prior offensive ended badly for the terrorist group, as Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces reversed all of their gains.
According to a military source in Damascus, a Hezbollah drone captured footage of the terrorist group moving their fighters from Jaroud ‘Arsal, Jaroud Qarah, and Jaroud Qa’a to the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway and the Ras Ba’albak fronts in order to capture the Syrian Arab Army/Hezbollah’s territory under their control.
ISIS has enjoyed control over the Jaroud Qarah border-crossing into Lebanon for the last two years, while also combatting their former allies from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that shared control of this territory before they were defeated by Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army three months ago.
East of the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway in the Qalamoun Mountains, the Syrian Arab Army controls the area from Qarah to the town of Maheen in the Homs Governorate; however, ISIS is in full-control of the ancient Assyrian city of Al-Quraytayn, which is located directly east of Maheen.
If the terrorist group can advance east of the Damascus-Aleppo International Highway from Jaroud Qarah, while another ISIS contingent pushes west from Al-Quraytayn to the aforementioned highway; this will endanger both the Syrian capital of Damascus and the provincial capital of the Homs Governorate.