Syria in Past 24 Hours: Army Expanding Buffer Zone around Damascus
Sources reported that the army soldiers, backed up by the artillery and missile units, engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in Ein Terma and drove them out of 18 positions and building blocks near the petrol station, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.
They added that the army men also went through numerous buildings and reached the Ein Terma conjunction area that is located next to the al-Kheir market place.
Another field source said that the army units have continued operation in the region to separate Jobar district from Eastern Ghouta to reinvigorate security of the capital after carrying out cleansing operation in Jobar.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the Russian-run Humeimim military airport in the coastal province of Lattakia, local media reported, adding that Assad and Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov underlined reinvigoration of coordination in the war on terrorism.
The Syrian leader inspected a single-seat, twin-engine and super-maneuverable Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jet as well as armored vehicles at Humeimim base Southeast of the provincial capital city of Lattakia on Tuesday, and met with a number of Russian military commanders there, the Syrian state agency reported.
Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov accompanied Bashar al-Assad during the visit.
“The Syrian people will not forget the support of their Russian brothers,” Assad wrote in the base visitors’ book.
The Russian Defense Ministry issues a statement noting that during the visit, al-Assad and Gerasimov had held talks at the base on “coordination between Syrian government forces and Russia’s air force”.
Humeimim serves as Russia’s permanent airbase inside Syria and is adjacent to the Bassel al-Assad International Airport, with which it shares some airfield facilities.
The Syrian Army troops continued to advance against ISIL in Eastern Homs and pushed terrorists back from more positions in the depth of Badiyeh (desert).
The army soldiers that drove ISIL out of al-Zali’eiyat region near Hamimimeh region at the borders between Homs and Deir Ezzur province continued to advance in the region and took control over several positions 4km East of al-Zali’eiyat and over 70km away from the Eastern direction of the third power plan.
A military source said that the army troops inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists and destroyed a large number of their vehicles and military equipment.
A Syrian government source reported that the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have cut off drinking water to over 1 million residents of Aleppo city in the Northern part of the war-hit country, media sources said Wednesday.
The Kurdish fighters have reportedly blocked the flow of drinking water from the Euphrates Dam that feeds into the Khafsa Pumps, halting the supply to the people of Aleppo City, the AMN reported.
While no reason was given for SDF’s actions, some believe that the Kurds have embarked on the move after the recent brief clashes between Kurds and the Syrian Army troops in Southwestern Raqqa.
The first clash between the Syrian army troops and the SDF occurred North of the city of Rasafeh earlier this month after a Syrian air force fighter jet was shot down by the US-led coalition warplanes West of Raqqa.
The Syrian army and SDF forces reportedly engaged in fierce clashes North of al-Rasafeh city and in areas surrounding Shavihayan and Jaydeen villages.
The Syrian troops tried to rescue the pilot of the Syrian air force’s fighter jet, Ali Fahd, after his plane was shot down by the US-led forces, but they faced the US-backed forces.
Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian Army troops’ advances against ISIL South-East of Aleppo province have paved the ground for the pro-government forces’ great military achievements along the road that connects Aleppo to Hama province, well-placed army sources said Wednesday.
The sources said that the Syrian pro-government forces will soon end one of their hardest battles against ISIL in Badiyeh, East of the road that connects the town of Khanasser in Southeastern Aleppo to the town of al-Salamiyah in Hama province.
They went on to say that given the importance of the region and ISIL’s strong resistance, tough battle is now underway in the battlefront.
The sources further said that the ISIL has been relocating its forces from Raqqa countryside to the surroundings of Khanasser-al-Salamiyah road, the only supply line of the army to Aleppo city, to make the strategic route insecure.
In the meantime, the army soldiers have been fighting terrorists to foil ISIL’s penetration attempts from Khanasser and to force the terrorists to retreat from the vital road of Khanasser, the sources said, adding that upcoming military achievements of the army will end ISIL’s attempts to decrease the pro-government forces’ pressure on Eastern Homs and Southwestern Raqqa.
The sources went on to say that with the restoration of full security to the road to Aleppo, the army will be capable of dispatching fresh forces to other battlefields to support their comrades in Southern and Eastern Syria.
The US-led coalition warplanes’ attacks left 12 more civilians dead and several more injured in Raqqa city and its countryside, local sources said.
The sources said that the US-led coalition warplanes targeted and killed seven civilians from the besieged city of Raqqa that tried to reach the Euphrates River to supply water.
In the meantime, the coalition fighter jets targeted a vehicle in the village of al-Akershi in the Eastern countryside of Raqqa, leaving five civilians dead.
In the meantime, several civilians that intended to flee Western Raqqa to save their lives from the coalition air raids came under fire by ISIL terrorists. Three were killed in the incident.
Field sources said on Wednesday that the Syrian Army troops’ advances in Aleppo and Raqqa provinces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces’ victories in Raqqa have put the ISIL terrorist group on the brink of complete collapse in the Northern parts of the country.
The sources said that as the Iraqi forces are taking the last steps towards the full liberation of Mosul city, the ISIL’s capital in Iraq, the Takfiri terrorists are experiencing their worst days in Northern Syria.
As the liberation of Raqqa city will no doubt be a demoralizing loss for ISIL, the battle often overshadows the Syrian Army’s ongoing operations along the Aleppo-Raqqa road, the sources went on to say.
They added that for the ISIL, losing Raqqa city doesn’t mean the end of their so-called ‘caliphate’ in Northern Syria; “however, the loss of the Ithriya-Salamiyah Highway does”.
Over the past years, the ISIL group has used the highway to transport provisions to their forces in Eastern Aleppo and Western Raqqa, and if the Syrian army manages to capture it, the terrorists are left with no supply route to the Maskana and Khanasser plains or the Western bank of the Euphrates River.
The sources underscored that if the ISIL loses Raqqa city and Ithriya-al-Salamiyah road their presence in Northern Syria will come to an end.