Two days after the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) launched an offensive in southeast Al-Hasakah, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Kata’eb Al-Ba’ath – countered with an assault of their own, capturing eight villages on Monday and two more on Tuesday after fierce clashes with the militant group.
After securing the Mafraq Petrol Factory and Al-Salihiyah, the SAA and their allies pushed east towards Nariyah, Hamer Al-Sharqiyah, and Gheirha, where they were successful in taking full control of the villages, while cutting off the ISIS militants from the strategic road leading to the town of Al-Houl.
According to a military source, the Syrian Armed Forces’ counter-assault against the ISIS militants in southeast Al-Hasakah is considered much more of a defensive tactic than an offensive, as the primary objective was described to Al-Masdar News as the expansion of their buffer-zone around the provincial capital’s southern flank.
The source further added that ISIS suffered a high casualty count for the second straight day, as the SAA killed as many as 30 enemy combatants, including ‘Issa Ziad Al-Thawrah, Hussein Mohammad Yasseen, Wasseem Bashir Al-Sinaan, Nasser Fares Abu Layal, Mohammad ‘Abdel-Razzaq ‘Abdullah, Mohammad Kareem ‘Aadel, “Abu ‘Usama Al-Iraqi”, and Qusay Lu’ayy Jasseem.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Armed Forces suffered a total of 19 soldiers killed-in-action (KIA) and another 9 were reportedly wounded during the last two days of this battle in Al-Hasakah.
A horrific scene was discovered at the Al-Hasakah Dam on Tuesday, as a mass grave filled with almost 280 bodies was unearthed by local civilians near the Stone Quarries; this is believed to be the remains of Iraqi civilians executed by ISIS.