BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – Footage has been released on pro-government social media showing the very first unit of Syrian Arab Army troops that crossed the Euphrates River in action as they carried out the historic operation.
In the video (below) can be seen that the soldiers belong to the Syrian Army’s elite ISIS Hunters, a vanguard unit within the 5th Assault Corps.
Immediately apparent is that pre-operation arrangements were made during the night hours of yesterday morning whilst the actual assault reportedly took place at 9:18 A.M.
The assault involved very small independent river crossing teams of no more than seven troops, each loaded into motorized dinghies.
By the time the elite Syrian troops made their landing on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the sun has already risen over Deir Ezzor.
The push inland begun almost immediately after making landfall with ISIS Hunter troops negating their way through the dense water-bogged cropland that straggles the Euphrates. Within hours the settlements of Marrat, Sbahah and Mazlum were liberated.
According to military sources, the elite Syrian Army unit killed at least forty (40) ISIS militants during the initial phase of their assault; not a single Syrian soldier died despite heavy clashes.
The last information disseminated by the ISIS Hunters unit claims that they were making a push on the town of Hatlah, however the outcome of this assault is unclear since Islamic State forces have been conducting ferocious counterattacks aimed at driving the elite Syrian battle group back across the river.
Lastly, at the end of the video, it appears that at least two prisoners of war, likely local spies for ISIS from the liberated villages, have been captured and are now in Syrian Army custody.