The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is in serious trouble in the east Hama countryside after the Syrian Arab Army’s 66th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division advanced several kilometers east of Al-Salamiyah over the last 72 hours.

On Friday, the Syrian Arab Army’s 66th Brigade – backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) – began their attack by targeting ISIL’s positions at the village of Abu Hanaya; this would result in a long and bloody battle as the government forces pushed towards the nearby town of Al-Hardana.

ISIL fought hard, but in the end, they were unable to maintain control over the Abu-Hanaya-Hardana Road due to the Syrian Arab Army’s relentless push and the Syrian Arab Air Force’s merciless airstrikes that helped weaken the terrorist group’s defenses and resolve.

With the Abu Hanaya-Hardana Road cutoff, ISIL has lost one of its most important supply routes in the east Hama countryside, leaving them in desperate need to counter the Syrian Arab Army’s recent advance before it is too late.

Now, the Syrian Armed Forces have turned their attention to the ISIL stronghold of ‘Aqayrbat, which is located along the Hama-Palmyra Highway in east Hama.

Aqayrbat

As the map above illustrates, ‘Aqayrbat is strategically located at a crossroad that allows ISIL to travel back and forth along the Hama-Palmyra Highway.

If the Syrian Armed Forces are successful in their attempt to capture ‘Aqayrbat, they will be able to clear the remaining mountains under ISIL’s control in northeastern Homs.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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