The Syrian Arab Army’s 47th and 66th Brigades of the 11th Tank Division surprised the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham this past weekend with a powerful offensive along the Al-Assi River that flows between the strategic cities of Hama and Al-Salamiyah in central Syria.
Caught off-guard by the massive pro-government offensive in the Hama Governorate’s southeastern countryside, the Islamist rebels from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham were forced to concede 11 villages along the Al-Assi River to the Syrian Arab Army’s 47th and 66th Brigades before they withdrew towards the large towns of Qantarah and Tuloul Al-Hamr.
Now, the Syrian Armed Forces have shifted their attention to the last patch of land that links the Islamists in northern Homs to southeastern Hama; this begins another important phase of the northern Homs offensive as the Syrian Arab Army looks to cutoff the only supply route to the Al-Rastan Plains.
The Syrian Armed Forces captured one of the key Islamist strongholds this past weekend that not only made living in both Hama City and Al-Salamiyah a lot safer, but also, cutoff Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham from this village’s rich resources.
The strategic village the Syrian Armed Forces captured in southeastern Hama was Al-Durrah; this Islamist stronghold was used by Jabhat Al-Nusra to terrorize the residents of Al-Salamiyah and Hama City with indiscriminate rockets and mortar shells.
With Al-Durrah under their control, they can shift their attention to Tuloul Al-Hamr and Qantarah, where they will be encountering heavy resistance from the Islamists because if the latter loses these two towns, they will have lost their last points along the Hama-Homs border.