SYRIAN WAR REPORT – AUGUST 7, 2017: SUKHNA LIBERATED, ARMY CONTINUES ADVANCE

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Last weekend, Syrian government forces liberated the strategic town of Sukhna in the province of Homs. The town located 110km from the city of Deir Ezzor had been one of the key ISIS strongholds lying at the root of the ISIS defense in the provinces of Homs.

The Republican Guard, the 18th Armoured Division, Liwa Fatemiyoun and the National Defense Forces were main pro-government formations in involved in the operation. Government troops, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces’ warplanes and attack helicopters, took control over the heights located west, south and southwest of Sukhna and established a full fire control over the town. ISIS repelled the first government forces attempt to enter the town but failed to repel a flanking maneuver from the western direction and were pushed to withdraw from the town after a series of firefights.

Following the success in Sukhna, government troops liberated Rjam al-Saboun, Tal Abu Qul, Rajm al-Qun and Tulul al-Meleh and deployed in a striking distance from the Doubayat gas field. A fighting is now ongoing in the area.
Now, the Syrian military command have two main options:

1. To develop the advance along the road between Sukhna and Resfafa in order to cut off the ISIS supply lines to the eastern Hama countryside;

2. To continue advancing in along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway in an attempt to reach the city prior to the moment when ISIS is able to make successful flank attacks on the advancing grouping.

The first option looks more secure, but the second decision could be made because of political and diplomatic reasons. The Syrian military needs to reach the besieged city in order to pretend on the taking control of the strategic Deir Ezzor-Mayadin-Al-Bukamal road.

Meanwhile, reinforcements from the Qalamoun Shield Forces have arrived the eastern Homs countryside. This may indicate that the Syrian military is creating a striking force for another attempt to retake the ISIS-held town of Uqayrabat.

In the southern Raqqah countryside, the Tiger Forces and allied tribal forces have liberated Al-Hardan, Salim al-Hamad, al-Atashana, Muqla Saghira, Muqla Kabira, Al-Daa’ma, al Jaber and al-Kumaysah reaching the ISIS strong point of Maadan. The advance in the area is ongoing amid a chance that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could make attempt to cross the Euphrates River and to slow down the army advance on Deir Ezzor.
According to local and media sources, there is a unofficial military coordination between the Syrian military and the SDF. However, this does not suspend the competition for the oil and gas resources as well as the territory of eastern Syria.

 

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – AUGUST 3, 2017: GOVT FORCES ENTER STRATEGIC SUKHNA TOWN IN HOMS PROVINCE

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

On Wednesday, the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) began a direct storm of the ISIS—held town of Sukhna at the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway.

Government forces captured the ISIS fortifications south and west of the town, stormed the southwestern entrance of the town, and captured several buildings. Syrian and Russian warplanes and attack helicopters supported the advance.

According to reports, a majority of the ISIS fighters withdrew from Sukhna last week, but dozens of them decided to stay in the town to defend it.  Most of these fighters are suicide bombers and snipers.

On Thursday, clashes in the area continued as government forces made additional efforts towards securing the town.  If the SAA and NDF are able to fully control the Sukhna area, government forces will be able to cut off supply lines leading to a collapse of the entire ISIS defense in the eastern Hama countryside.

The ISIS-linked News Agency Amaq claimed on Thursday that 32 Syrian soldiers were killed as a result of an attack on SAA positions east of Salamyah.  According to Amaq, ISIS fighters captured 6 SAA checkpoints near Al-Mafkar village and an SAA HQ in the Olive Press.  During the attack, ISIS fighters also managed to capture a tank, two bulldozers, two 23mm guns, two cars loaded with ammunition, and several vehicles.

Opposition sources claimed that ISIS attacked an SAA position south of Ithryiah with a VBIED, killing 30 Syrian soldiers.  Pro-government sources denied these claims.

The Syrian Defense Ministry announced that 330 vehicles, 3 battle tanks, 11 artillery pieces, 5 machine guns, 12 headquarters, and 3 weapons and munition depots belonging to ISIS were destroyed during the recent operations near the Euphrates River in the southern Raqqah countryside.  Government forces are now developing momentum in an attempt to consolidate the recent gains and to take control over additional important points in the area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced that its special operations forces infiltrated the Mallah area in western Aleppo and killed some 20 pro-government fighters, injured 10 others, and damaged a BMP vehicle.  According to pro-government sources, the SAA and NDF repelled the infiltration attempt and inflicted heavy casualties upon the terrorists.

The Syrian government has reportedly disbanded the Desert Hawks Brigade (Liwa Suqur al-Sahara). The decision followed a series of the questionable events linked to the group.  The Desert Hawks Brigade had been temporarily deployed to the eastern Hama countryside for a widely-expected operation to liberate the ISIS-held town of Uqayribat.  However, the brigade withdrew from the area after a few days of fighting. According to local sources, tensions with the SAA and other pro-government units were the reason behind the decision.

Members of the Desert Hawks Brigade will reportedly have an opportunity to join the SAA 5th Assault Corps, the Qalamoun Shield Forces, or other pro-government units.  The Desert Hawks Brigade’s commander, Colonel Mohammad Jaber allegedly left Syria and is now in Russia where he and his brother, Aymen al-Jaber, have some property.

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Syrian War Report – July 21, 2017: Fierce Clashes Between Army And ISIS

 

An intense fighting is ongoing between government forces and ISIS terrorists in the area of the Homs-Palmyra highway and near the border with Iraq.

According to pro-government sources, 30 ISIS members were killed and over 50 were injured during clashes in the area of Humaymah near the border with Iraq. 2 Syrian soldiers were killed as a result of the ISIS attack at the Al-Musheirefah Hill in the eastern Homs countryside. At the same time, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies advanced north of the Homs-Palmyra road and captured the Al-Alam Hill south of Taliaa al-Gharbia.

Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes destroyed at least 3 ISIS vehicles in the area of Jub Al-Abied east of Salamiyah.

According to local sources, government forces are going to resume the operation in the eastern Hama countryside within few days. The SAA, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Desert Hawks Brigade still see the liberation of Uqayrabat as a key part of the wider effort against ISIS in central Syria.

Right now, government forces cannot push to Deir Ezzor because of a high number of ISIS units operating in the rear of its logistical lines. Sukhna is another point that has to be liberated to resolve the situation.

An intense fighting is ongoing in eastern Damascus where the SAA and the NDF have been attempting to pressure Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the  Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam on multiple fronts. The main clashes are ongoing in the Ayn Tarma area. However, sporadic firefights were also reported in the northeastern part of the pocket. According to pro-militant sources, over 30 government soldiers were killed in the recent clashes.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed up by the US-led coalition, are storming the neighborhoods of Nezlit Shehada and Al-Shaddadi in Raqqah city. According to pro-SDF sources, over 27 ISIS members were killed in the recent clashes and an IED plant was captured. According to ISIS, 8 SDF members were killed recently.

The battle for Raqqah has turned into a very complicated task for the US-backed force. While there is little doubt that the city will be liberated, the question is how much time and manpower will this effort take?

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 12, 2017: ARMY SEEKS TO DIVIDE MILITANT-HELD AREA IN EASTERN DAMASCUS

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) are attempting to separate Jobar and Zamalka areas in eastern Damascus countryside. They have advanced along the M5 highway and claimed capturing some buildings in the process. Clashes have also continued in Ayn Tarma. Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are two militant groups opposing the SAA and the NDF in the area.

The SAA, the NDF and other pro-government factions have fully liberated the al-Hayl gas field area, including hills near the gas field, from ISIS terrorists in the countryside of Palmyra.

The SAA and its allies entered the al-Hayl gas field area earlier this month, captured the al-Hayl gas station, and engaged ISIS units in an intense fighting in the area. On Tuesday, government forces got a full control over the area and seized hills overlooking the gas field. However, ISIS launched a counter-attack in an attempt to the field. An intense fighting is now ongoing.

ISIS had set up a series of strongpoints in the mountain area along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway. These strongpoints became an obstruction for the government forces attempting to reach the strategic town of Sukhna.

The video has appeared online showing a large convoy of pro-government tribal fighters allegedly moving to participate in the expected government operation against ISIS in Deir Ezzor. According to the report, some 4,000 tribal fighters will participate in the advance. However, this number looks overestimated.

A Russian military adviser, Nikolay Afanasov, has been killed as a result of mortar shelling from militants in Hama province, the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday. The captain was tasked with training Syrian ground forces. He was granted a state decoration posthumously. According to official statements, 34 Russian military servicemen have been killed since the start of the operation in Syria.

An intense fighting continued between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS inside the city of Raqqah. SDF units, backed up by the US-led coalition airpower and artillery, are pressuring on ISIS defense lines in western and eastern Raqqah in an attempt to reach the city center and divide it into two parts via the al Firdaws street. ISIS uses snipers and suicide bombers countering the US-backed advance.

Meanwhile, the SDF has established of the first female Arab battalion within the US-backed group. The recently created battalion was named the Battalion of Martyr Amara for Arab Women. The declared aim of the move is to fight ISIS terrorists in eastern Syria and to protect women rights. The creation of the Battalion of Martyr Amara for Arab Women was officially announced by Rojda Seyar, an SDF field commander, on Monday.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 12, 2017: ARMY SEEKS TO DIVIDE MILITANT-HELD AREA IN EASTERN DAMASCUS

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) are attempting to separate Jobar and Zamalka areas in eastern Damascus countryside. They have advanced along the M5 highway and claimed capturing some buildings in the process. Clashes have also continued in Ayn Tarma. Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are two militant groups opposing the SAA and the NDF in the area.

The SAA, the NDF and other pro-government factions have fully liberated the al-Hayl gas field area, including hills near the gas field, from ISIS terrorists in the countryside of Palmyra.

The SAA and its allies entered the al-Hayl gas field area earlier this month, captured the al-Hayl gas station, and engaged ISIS units in an intense fighting in the area. On Tuesday, government forces got a full control over the area and seized hills overlooking the gas field. However, ISIS launched a counter-attack in an attempt to the field. An intense fighting is now ongoing.

ISIS had set up a series of strongpoints in the mountain area along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway. These strongpoints became an obstruction for the government forces attempting to reach the strategic town of Sukhna.

The video has appeared online showing a large convoy of pro-government tribal fighters allegedly moving to participate in the expected government operation against ISIS in Deir Ezzor. According to the report, some 4,000 tribal fighters will participate in the advance. However, this number looks overestimated.

A Russian military adviser, Nikolay Afanasov, has been killed as a result of mortar shelling from militants in Hama province, the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday. The captain was tasked with training Syrian ground forces. He was granted a state decoration posthumously. According to official statements, 34 Russian military servicemen have been killed since the start of the operation in Syria.

An intense fighting continued between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS inside the city of Raqqah. SDF units, backed up by the US-led coalition airpower and artillery, are pressuring on ISIS defense lines in western and eastern Raqqah in an attempt to reach the city center and divide it into two parts via the al Firdaws street. ISIS uses snipers and suicide bombers countering the US-backed advance.

Meanwhile, the SDF has established of the first female Arab battalion within the US-backed group. The recently created battalion was named the Battalion of Martyr Amara for Arab Women. The declared aim of the move is to fight ISIS terrorists in eastern Syria and to protect women rights. The creation of the Battalion of Martyr Amara for Arab Women was officially announced by Rojda Seyar, an SDF field commander, on Monday.

Syrian Army Closing Militant Pocket In Eastern Damascus Desert Area

Syrian Army Closing Militant Pocket In Eastern Damascus Desert Area

FILE IMAGE

Pro-government forces, led by Syrian army and Hezbollah units, have launched an advance in order to capture the Abu Khashbah area in the eastern Damascus desert.

Government troops have advanced in the area south of Ar-Ruhba in order to close encircle the area controlled by US-backed militants south of the al-Seen military airbase. This desert area is not fully controlled by US-backed forces. However, it cannot be secured while the army and its allies are not in control of Abu Khashbah.

If government troops liberate the Abu Khashbah area and clear the militant pocket west of it, they will significantly shorten the frontline in southeastern Syria and make another important step in isolation of the US-held garrisons at the border with Iraq.

Syrian Army Closing Militant Pocket In Eastern Damascus Desert Area

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Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra Refues To Work Alongside Syrian Democratic Forces – Media

Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra Refues To Work Alongside Syrian Democratic Forces - Media

Jaysh Maghawir Al-Thawra members alongisde with US-led coalition forces are in southeastern Syria

The US-backed Jaysh Maghawir Al-Thawra militant group operating in southeastern Syria has refused to work alongside another US-backed faction branded as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to the pro-opposition Qasion News Agency.

The agency reported that Jaysh Maghawir Al-Thawra has denied that it intends to redeploy to the Shadadi area in the northern Syrian province of Hasaka and to participate alongside with the SDF in the expected US-backed advance on Deir Ezzor.

Earlier this month, reports appeared that the US is gouing to build a military garrison at Shadadi with the aim to use it as a foothold for the anti-ISIS operation in the province of Deir Ezzor.

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