Two days after the Syrian Arab Army’s 3rd Infantry Division launched its counter-offensive in Jabal Al-Sha’ar, the Islamic State of Al-Sham’s (ISIS) frontline defenses have crumbled in east Homs. Earlier today, the 18th Tank Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division captured Tal Mahar – a hill overlooking the Al-Sha’ar Gas Fields. The 18th Brigade backed by the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the SAA contingent known as “Al-Qalb Al-Suqour Sahra’a” (Special Forces) stormed the hill, killing dozens of ISIS militants before declaring Tal Mahar under control.
During the operation at Tal Mahar, the NDF was attacking the village of Jahaar nearby, where ISIS militants attempted to repulse the onslaught. Overwhelmed and under supplied, ISIS militants were unable to maintain their positions inside the village, leaving Jahaar to fall to the NDF. Following the capture of Jahaar, the NDF continued its offensive into the neighboring village of Shahaar; firefights are still ongoing, but expected to dissipate over the next few hours as ISIS is outnumbered.
According to a military source, the majority of dead ISIS fighters at Jabal Al-Sha’ar are mostly foreigners without proper identification. The source added that 13 ISIS fighters were captured at Tal Mahar and among the prisoners were 9 Chechens, 2 Saudis, and 1 Malaysian. The Chechen fighters stated that they entered Syria through Turkey, where they participated in the Battle of Tabqa Airbase in August. The identified militants killed at Tal Mahar are the following:
1. ‘Abdo-Azou Al-‘Arouq
2. Mustafa Haytham Al-Ramadan