The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have renewed push against the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the southeastern Syrian desert. The SAA began advancing in the Al-Dakwa area and Beer Kasab in order to link up in the Zuluf reserve area. The operation followed an FSA advance against government troops on Wednesday when US-backed militants failed to push the SAA from the Zaza triangle. FSA sources blamed Russian airstrikes and pro-Iranian militias for this failure.
In eastern Homs, the SAA advanced on Al-Abbasiya and Al-Sukari southeast of Palmyra, but ISIS members repelled the attack and forced the army to retreat. Russian warplanes and helicopters have bombed ISIS targets near Al-Sukari and Al-Abbasiya, east of the Arak field, and in Sukhnah.
The SAA Tiger Forces have captured the villages of Jadyaa Saghira and Jadyaa Kabira south of the ISIS-held town of Maskana and the Maskana silos. Thus, the SAA isolated the ISIS stronghold from the southern, western and northern directions.
Experts believe that ISIS will be forced to withdraw from the strategic town soon. However, there is always a chance that terrorists decide to defend the town by all means.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Republican Guard has conducted limited attacks against ISIS east of Khanasser, drawing the terrorist group’s attention from Maskana.
Russian warplanes have destroyed three ISIS convoys fleeing Raqqa, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed in a statement on Thursday. The convoys were attempting to escape from Raqqa in the southern direction on Monday but the Russian Aerospace Forces prevented this. 80 ISIS terrorists were killed and 36 vehicles, 8 fuel trucks and 17 pickups equipped with mortars and machine guns were destroyed.
“The Command of the Russian Air Force group in Syrian Arab Republic warned that any efforts of ISIS’ insurgents to leave Raqqa through the open corridor to Palmyra will be suppressed,” the statement reads.
The ministry added that the US-led coalition and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are maintaining an open corridor for terrorists south of the city.
In May, the SDF released an official statement denying any allegations that they may allow ISIS members to flee Raqqa and arguing there is info indicating that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance cooperates with ISIS near Palmyra.
Meanwhile, the SDF captured ath-Thadyayn near the Baath Dam south of Raqqa. Clashes have reportedly continued in the Baath Dam itself as claims of the pro-SDF sources that it had been fully retaken appeared to be untrue.
According to opposition sources, the SDF began negotiations with ISIS members suggesting them to withdraw from the dam and the nearby villages. The same approach was implemented in Tabqa and in the Tabqa Dam where terrorists accepted an open corridor deal.
ISIS also released statements claiming that some 23 Kurdish fighters have been killed in the recent clashes in the Raqqa countryside.