Moments ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated Abu Jabbar Kabeer and the junction town of Al-Qeteh (Al-Kitah) just hours after seizing the neighbouring village of Manazir Al-Jiraf amid fierce clashes with ISIS insurgents in the area.
The SAA offensive was led by the Tiger Forces and Cheetah Forces; these elite assault troops have seized 8 villages in eastern Aleppo over the past 72 hours in a region previously believed to be impregnable.
Skirmishes are also ongoing near Alisah; this ISIS-held village is expected to fall in the hours to come. Effectively, government troops are now stationed less than 27 kilometers from the Euphrates River.
Nevertheless, the primary goal of the SAA’s offensive is to capture the Islamic State bastion of Deir Hafer.
For now, Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan has ruled out a direct assault on the city as ISIS forces have had two years to fortify it – instead, the Tiger Forces will attempt to encircle it and force jihadist militants to either withdraw towards Raqqa or fight to the last man.