DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:45 P.M.) – A massive government salient has formed in eastern Homs as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated another strategic hilltop in the late afternoon of Tuesday in a largely uninhabited oil-rich desert region.

After exploring weak points in the Islamic State’s defensive lines, Syrian government forces spearheaded by the Russian-trained 5th Legion attacked northwards and seized control of the Al-Mazbad chain of hills that overlook the nearby Arak Gas Fields.

Remarkably, the SAA’s Palmyra garrison is deploying tactics inspired by the famed Tiger Forces that involve utilizing diversionary attacks before advancing on poorly defended jihadist-held positions pinpointed by reconnaissance units.

This strategy keeps ISIS on its toes at all times, constantly prompting jihadists militants to regroup, thereby exposing them to Russian warplanes and reducing SAA casualties.

Nevertheless, hundreds of Islamic State reinforcements have arrived on the outskirts of Palmyra from the now rebel-held East Qalamoun region in recent days.

Yesterday, Amaq published 20 photos of clashes between the SAA and ISIS in eastern Homs, suggesting a massive jihadist fighting force is yet to be dislodged from the region.

At the moment, the SAA is focused on capturing the long-standing ISIS strongholds of Arak and As-Suknah in a major eastwards push along the M20 highway en route to Deir Ezzor.

Meanwhile, Syrian government troops are on standby at the Talilah crossroad axis. This key junction is still under ISIS control despite previous reports to the contrary.

A larger version of the brand new Palmyra map can be found here.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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