DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its tribal allies were caught off-guard in southern Raqqa on Thursday after Islamic State forces overran a few villages and inflicted heavy casualties upon pro-government forces.
If one is to believe the ISIS-linked Amaq Agency, 99 SAA soldiers have been killed in rural Raqqa today. The outlet claimed 57 troops were killed in the initial suicide bombing attack while 42 more were killed in the following skirmishes.
However, upon enquiring with an Al-Masdar News source embedded with the SAA’s Tiger Forces, it was discovered that the real death toll was much lower than claimed by Amaq Agency, but still undeniably in the “dozens”.
The military source added that the majority of pro-government forces that were killed-in-action (KIA) stemmed from the Al-Baqir tribe which has thousands of troops fighting alongside the SAA. The tribal fighters originate primarily from Aleppo province and have been working under the direct command of Major General Suheil Al-Hassan for the past few years.
Fierce firefights continue along the Euphrates River as we speak with the SAA trying to regroup for a counter-offensive in rural Raqqa, looking to retake the lost turf before ISIS insurgents manage to fortify their newly captured positions.