DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:10 P.M.) – Syrian government troops are inching their way towards the long-standing Islamic State stronghold of Al-Suknah after securing another advance in this direction on Wednesday afternoon.
Pushing east of the Al-Hail oil field near the imperative M7-highway, a fighting force led by the 5th Legion and two tank divisions captured a kilometer of desert land around this key road.
In addition, mechanized contingents of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took control of an important chain of hills in eastern Homs, thus establishing fire control over the ISIS-held Manbal area, located directly west of Al-Suknah.
During the last 48 hours, some 30 ISIS insurgents have been neutralized on this frontier.
With two SAA pincers gradually closing around Al-Suknah, ISIS could soon lose its most important junction town in all of Syria. This bastion is vital as it connects the caliphate’s territory in the eastern Homs/Hama salient with the ISIS mainland in Deir Ezzor province.
However, the SAA must still punch through a 70-kilometer wide corridor anchored on both flanks of Al-Suknah as this sparsely populated region safeguards ISIS’ bulge in central Syria.
Once the Islamic State’s pocket is encircled and liquidated, the SAA is expected to thrust eastwards amid a wider bid to relieve the besieged city of Deir Ezzor.
Click here for a interactive battle map of the aforementioned areas.