The jihadist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) began a new offensive in the northern Homs countryside on Saturday morning that they claimed was a response to the Syrian Arab Army’s siege of Darayya.

Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies reportedly captured three checkpoints along the main highway between Homs City and Masyaf, resulting in the closure of this imperative road that links the Homs and Tartous governorates.

In response to this offensive, the Russian Air Force launched several airstrikes over the Al-Rastan Plains of northern Homs, killing a large number of jihadists while the Syrian Armed Forces regroup.

A military source told Al-Masdar News on Saturday morning that the Syrian Armed Forces have launched a counter-assault to recapture these three checkpoints; however, they are not likely to be seized until tomorrow.

The purpose of this jihadist offensive on Saturday morning is to alleviate the pressure being applied by the Syrian Armed Forces on the strategic town of Darayya in the Greater Damascus area.

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