On Wednesday night, the Syrian Armed Forces began a large-scale offensive inside the Deir Hafer Plain of east Aleppo in order to lift the three year long siege of the Kuweires Military Airbase.
The Syrian Armed Forces offensive was launched from three different axes, which were identified by a military source as the towns of Kabaarah, Al-Sabihiyah, and Al-‘Aziziyah.
The town of Kabaarah is located just south of the Deir Hafer Highway that is currently under ISIS’ control; this assault will require the Syrian Armed Forces to capture a dozen sites along the Deir Hafer Highway in order to reach the Kuweires Military Airbase.
Kabaarah is also the closest town to the Kuweires Military Airbase that is under the Syrian Armed Forces’ control; it sits 16km west of the airport and directly north of the Jibreen Railway that stretches from Aleppo City to the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor.
Situated between Kabaarah to the north and Al-‘Aziziyah to the south, the town of Al-Sabihiyah was captured after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advanced from the contested hilltop of Tal Rayman.
The assault from Al-Sabihiyah is meant to link the forces from this town with the SAA soldiers attacking from Kabaarah; if successful, this will clear almost 15 square km of territory to the west of the Kuweires Airbase.
To the south of Al-Sabihiyah is Al-‘Aziziyah; this town located in the heart of the Al-Safirah District is crucial because it is meant to spread the ISIS contingents as far south as Jabboul Lake.
Without a doubt, the Al-‘Aziziyah route will be the most arduous of them all; however, if successful, they will have effectively captured most of the villages adjacent to the strategic city of Deir Hafer.
There are approximately 350 soldiers that are surrounded at the Kuweires Military Airbase; most of these men arrived at this airport in 2011 as cadets that were seeking further training in the Syrian Air Defenses – three and a half years later, they remain at the same airport.