Soldiers from the Qalamoun Shield outside of Al-Tal on Thursday.

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:00 A.M.) – New batch of reinforcements for Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has arrived in eastern Hama countryside, as government forces began their long-awaited offensive to liberate Uqayr’bat city, the main stronghold of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) in the region.

Military source told Al-Masdar News that well-known Qalamoun Shield Brigade was deployed to east Hama to take part in the unfolding major military operation.

Qalamoun Shield is a pro-government paramilitary unit under command of SAA’s 3rd Armoured Division.

Previously, fighters of this brigade participated in a string of vital battles Syrian Army fought against both IS and various jihadist opposition groups.

Thus, Qalamoun Shield helped SAA defend the strategic T-4 Airbase in central Homs countryside last winter; earlier, the brigade took part in the operation in Wadi Barada in Damascus province.

The most recent battle the brigade took part in was April’s SAA counter-offensive in northern Hama countryside.

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Writer, translator. Former communications engineer. Contributor at both AMN Russian and AMN English.

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