DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:47 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) backed by allied paramilitaries launched a mass-scale offensive against Islamic State terrorists in the region spanning between Eastern Qalamoun in Damascus province an Palmyra in Homs’s eastern countryside- a front that well exceeds a 100 kilometers.
Over 1200 sq kilometers were captured as a result of this blitzz offensive that had the Syrian Armed Forces capture several villages and strategic hilltops including Mihassa Mountain, Mihassa Sawanat, Qaryatayn Dam, Khinzeer Mountains, Khiddariyat Hills, A’amidah Hills, Umm Tuwayqiyah Hill, Sahabat al-Mashtal, Etisalat Hill, and the train station in addition to the imperative village of Bardah that lies a few kilometers to the west of Busairi Crossroads.
Dozens of militants were killed and injured in the ranks of the internationally-condemned terrorist group. Another ISIS fighter was captured as he attempted to escape the front lines with several of his peers amidst a large-scale retreat from the heart of the Syrian Badiyah. Operations are ongoing as the morale-exhausted Islamist insurgents find themselves unable to cope with the large fronts the Syrian Army is opening against them.
Through its operations on this axis, the Syrian Armed Forces have two strategic aims:
- Laying siege to the rebels of Eastern Qalamoun and keeping them isolated from the US and Jordanian-backed Free Syrian Army units near the Tanf Border Crossing. The Ahmad Abdo Martyrs Brigades and Jaish al-Islam units that control Dumeir and Ruhayba possess some 60 armored vehicles and tanks spread around the East Qalamoun slopes. If those are given a path through the desert, they could easily propel the rebel forces into Deir Ezzor province where they could gain ground against the dying Islamic State.
- Seizing all the slopes around the Busairi Crossroads that span from Sin Airbase and Qaryatayn to Qasr al-Hayr and Jabal Abtar in southern Palmyra would enable the Syrian Army to reopen the Damascus-Palmyra Highway. Opening this highway will provide the government forces with a massive logistical boost as reinforcements and supplies will find a direct route to Palmyra instead of steering through a tumultuous route that passes through Homs first. This development will prove imperative to the rumored upcoming Operation Lavendar that aims to lift the siege off the embattled city of Deir Ezzor.
At this rate of advance, it is likely that the government troops will achieve their goals in the next few days before beginning a new operational phase against the waning terrorist group.
Currently, the SAA is fighting ISIS on all the front lines that are in contact with the notorious terror group including east Aleppo (where the Tiger Forces are less than 6 km from ISIS’s largest remaining Aleppo stronghold of Maskanah), east Hama, east Homs, east Damascus, and in the besieged enclave of Deir Ezzor.
This concentrated effort against the so-called Islamic State has only come at such a large-scale after the successful implementation of the de-escalation and ceasefire regime agreed upon by Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the United States. Capitalizing on the calmer front lines of northwest Syria, the Syrian government is now able to throw the bulk of its attention onto the eastern fronts where it seeks to replant its long-lost influence in this resource-rich part of the country.
Map added for reference (map rendered outdated due to SAA advances since May 20):
HD Link: http://imgur.com/a/AeQqa
Video of the most recent operations taking place on Syria’s eastern fronts: