DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:30 A.M.) – Despite the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) overrunning four villages on the outskirts of Deir Hafer yesterday, the Islamic State still maintains large contingents in its last areas of Aleppo province.
A series of photos released by Amaq Agency shows jihadist militants utilizing a variety of weaponry to combat the SAA, including snipers and RPG’s (rocket-propelled grenades).
Amaq Agency claimed the clashes killed 31 government troops on Wednesday; however, Al-Masdar News field correspondent Yusha Yuseef said the estimate was exaggerated although both sides had significant sustained casualties over the past 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the SAA’s Tiger Forces and pro-government Al-Baqir tribesmen are yet to enter the isolated villages of Tall Al-Ahmar, Rasm Al-Abed and Asimiyah. The area is reportedly heavily mined and sappers have been called in to deal with the situation.
While the SAA gradually encircles Deir Hafer, the last ISIS-held city in the Aleppo governorate, ISIS is trying to keep a foothold in southeastern Aleppo, thereby preventing government forces from striking towards Raqqa, the Islamic State capital.
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