The battles taking place in the Al-Raqqa/Aleppo countrysides have recently intensified over the last 24 hours, as the latest field reports indicate that Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) has seized the village of Rasm Al-Nafal along the Khanasser-Ithriyah Road in southeast Aleppo.
Originally, the preliminary reports from members of Liwaa Al-Quds (pro-government Palestinian militia) indicated that it was the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) that cutoff the Khanasser-Ithriyah Road; however, social media activists from Jund Al-Aqsa have stated it was in fact their fighters that seized Rasm Al-Nafal from the Syrian Armed Forces last night.
If true, the Syrian Armed Forces will have to launch a counter-attack from either the northern or southern flank of Rasm Al-Nafal in order to push back the Islamist rebels and reopen their only supply route to the Aleppo Governorate.
In western Al-Raqqa, the Syrian Arab Army’s 555th Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Fouj Al-Joulan (Golani Regiment), Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade), and the National Defense Forces (NDF) – continued their assault on ISIS’ defensive positions at the village of Zakiyah, striking several small hilltops and oil fields along the road to this imperative site.
Currently, the Syrian Armed Forces are looking to capture Zakiyah from the ISIS terrorists entrenched along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway; however, roadside IEDs and mines have forestalled the government forces from advancing at a much faster rate.