DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:45 P.M.) – After being left untouched since 2014, the ISIS mainland in Deir Ezzor province is now under treat by a pro-government fighting force which looks to lift a long-standing siege on the provincial capital.
Contrary to persistent reports throughout the week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is yet to liberate the ISIS-held town of Hamimah although steady gains are underway towards the T2 Pumping Station in southern Deir Ezzor. However, clashes are ongoing on the perimeter of Hamimah where government troops have begun a large-scale assault.
Commanded by Brigadier General Rafiq Shahadeh, the SAA has deployed elements of the 1st, 4th, 11th and 18th divisions alongside the Republican Guards and Russian-trained 5th Legion to spearhead a military campaign which looks to thrust through the Islamic State’s interior lines, brushing aside any jihadist resistant in the process.
Assisting the SAA-led offensive are big numbers of foreign paramilitary contingents, including Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Units, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat Al-Nujaba, 313 forces, Liwa Al-Quds and Liwa Fatemiyoun.
According to a military source close to Al-Masdar News, some 50,000 pro-government troops are stationed across the entire eastern Homs battlefield of which around 80% are Syrian.
Meanwhile, new reports emerged on Thursday suggesting a US military garrison and vetted Syrian rebel forces may evacuate the Al-Tanf pocket and join forces with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Hasakah province instead.
Nevertheless, the military source told AMN that US troops were yet to leave the region and called the rumours untrue. However, American forces may soon abandon their presence in southern Syria after the SAA cutoff their frontline with ISIS earlier this month, and then captured approximately 100 kilometers of ISIS-held border in the following weeks.