Two Critical Battles Taking Place in East Homs: Palmyra and Tiyas Airbase
Perhaps one of Syria’s most complex combat zones, the east Homs battle front has erupted with violent clashes between the Syrian Armed Forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) all along this vast desert terrain in eastern Syria.
When ISIS captured the ancient city of Palmyra in late April of 2015, they found themselves marching through east Homs en route to the provincial capital at a rapid pace, leaving many Syrians in fear of the terrorist group’s imminent arrival to their cities.
However, by mid-June, the Syrian Armed Forces had held-out long enough to forestall the terrorist group’s advance; thus, resulting in a counter-offensive at Jabal Al-Sha’ar (Poet Mountains), the city of Jazal, and along the Homs-Palmyra Highway.
Not to be out-down, ISIS launched another offensive in east Homs; however, this time, they had their sights set on the imperative Tiyas Military Airbase and the T-4 Pumping Station some 48km from the ancient city of Palmyra.
On Tuesday morning, the armed combatants from ISIS launched another assault on the southwestern outskirts of Tiyas Military Airbase and while the attack was repelled by the Syrian Armed Forces, the terrorist group did entrench themselves along the rugged terrain surrounding this vital airport.
If the Syrian Armed Forces lose Tiyas Military Airbase and the T-4 Pumping station; this could spell trouble for the Syrian Arab Army in the Homs Governorate, as this airport is responsible for most of the air traffic above this province.
The Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” – in coordination with Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) – attempted to breach ISIS’ defenses southeast of the Ancient Quarries of Palmyra; however, the terrorist group held on long enough to prevent an infiltration before nightfall on Tuesday.
Southwest of the Ancient Quarries, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division also conducted a fierce assault on ISIS’ positions in the western countryside of Palmyra, killing 21 enemy combatants, while also destroying two enemy vehicles that were mounted with 23mm anti-aircraft machine guns.
Should the Syrian Arab Army capture Palmyra; this could result in the eventual recapture of Sikhanah and the numerous oil fields that are located all long the Sikhanah-Palmyra Road, which would also reopen a vital supply route to the Deir Ezzor Governorate.