DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:40 P.M.) – On Thursday, US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels pushed deep inside the oil-rich Syrian desert, capturing an important location and several kilometers of desert territory from ISIS insurgents in eastern Homs.
The FSA-linked ‘Osoud Al-Sharqiya’ group said in a statement online it had captured the village of Ulayyaniya and its surrounding areas as part of stage three of a Jordanian-backed offensive, dubbed ‘We saddled horses to liberate Hammad’.
Liwa Shuhada Al-Qaryatayn, Jaish Al-Islam, and the Ahmad Al-Abdo Martyrs Brigade also participated in the advance in an area some 40 kilometers southwest of the Christian city of Al-Quryatayn.
While ISIS withdrew towards Al-Halbah and Muhassah, the US-trained FSA faction said it was struck by Syrian warplanes. Meanwhile, not far from this area, ISIS militants launched a simultaneous attack on the government controlled Al-Quryantyan dam earlier today.
In the aftermath of these developments, the SAA and FSA accused one another of indirectly cooperating with the Islamic State.
As FSA forces advance towards Palmyra, commanders of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) are worried that ISIS may regroup to retake the ancient city. Also, a fragile East Qalamoun truce between the FSA and SAA is endangered by increased tensions between the parties.
Pictures of today’s FSA offensive in eastern Homs can be found below: