The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) liberation of ‘Arak village on Friday night has put the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in a difficult position as they attempt to retain control of the large natural gas and oil reserves in east Homs.
With the Syrian Army’s entry into this oil rich region of east Homs, the Islamic State will have to step up their efforts around the strategic town of Al-Sukhanah.
ISIS can afford to lose ‘Arak; it is a small village outside of Palmyra (Tadmur), but to lose Al-Sukhanah would be disastrous for their so called “Caliphate” because it would have an adverse affect on their oil dependent economy.
For the Syrian Arab Army’s 11th Tank Division, Al-Sukhanah’s liberation is far more important than recapturing oil fields.
Al-Sukhanah is strategically located along the International Highway that leads to the besieged provincial capital of the Deir Ezzor Governorate.
Liberating Al-Sukhanah will relieve the tired soldiers protecting the provincial capital, but also, obstruct one of the Islamic State’s primary supply routes between the provinces of Al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
The next few weeks will be critical for the Syrian Armed Forces; if they are able to reach the outskirts of Al-Sukhanah, they will force the Islamic State to redeploy their fighters from beleaguered Deir Ezzor to the aforementioned village.