Syrian Army Nearing Last ISIL Stronghold in Hama to Open New Front to Lift Siege on Deir Ezzur

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The Syrian Army troops continued their operation to drive ISIL out of the strategic region of Aqayrabat in Southern Hama to open a new way towards Deir Ezzur via Northern Homs, local sources reported.

The sources said that a large number of army soldiers have reached the oil pipeline and the regions near the town of Aqayrabat near the provincial border with Homs province that are considered the last stronghold of ISIL in Eastern Hama.

A senior military source, meantime, said that the army men managed to capture the hills near the road that connects al-Salamiyah city in Hama to the town of Khanasser in Aleppo, ending ISIL’s repeated attacks to cut off the key supply line towards Aleppo.

The source further said thanks to the army’s control over the hills Shahed 9 and 10 that overlook al-Salamiyah-Khanasser road, the pro-government forces intend to win back the town of Aqayrabat, the largest and the most strategic base of ISIL near al-Salamiyah and also open a new front to move towards Deir Ezzur via Northern Homs.  

Field sources said on Monday that the army troops ended the first phase of their operation to restore security to a major number of roads leading to Aleppo and are preparing for a next stage to reopen other roads and highways that connect Aleppo to Raqqa and Hama provinces.

Field sources pointed to restoring security to the road between the town of Khanasser in Aleppo and Ithriya in Hama, and said that the achievement restored security to a long chunk of Aleppo road that was under ISIL threat for the last four years.

The sources added that, in the meantime, the army was to kick off a second phase of its operation along the road towards Aqayrabat in Eastern Hama to end ISIL’s presence in the Eastern direction of al-Salamiyah-Ithriya-Khanasser.

In the meantime, the ground is expected to be paved for a part of army forces deployed in the Western direction of Khanasser-Ithriya road to leave their positions for other battlefields in Raqqa province to move from the town of al-Rasafeh towards the town of al-Sukhnah in Eastern Homs to join the pro-government forces’ operation to lift ISIL’s siege on Deir Ezzur city.

The sources further added that termination of the second phase of Aleppo road security would link again Aleppo to Hama and Raqqa provinces and would open new supply lines to the Southwestern territories of Raqqa province.

It seems that following the recent military achievements, the army intends to accelerate its advances in Badiyeh (desert) from three main flanks to reach the pro-government forces in Deir Ezzur province.

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