Syrian army recaptures key towns in Homs, prepares to storm ISIS-held Palmyra

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Syria army troops are seen in al-Qusayr town in Homs province. File photo

ARA News

DAMASCUS – Subsequent to fierce battles with militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS), Syrian army forces recaptured key towns in the southern countryside of Homs province, military sources reported on Monday.

“After imposing blockade on the area for several days, government forces were able to regain control of Mount Mahin and the surrounding towns from the hardline group,” a Syrian military source reported.

“Units from the Syrian army and allied troops have cleansed the area from radical Islamists, dismantling the improvised explosive devices and land-mines planted by the Islamists among the houses and near the roads and agricultural lands,” the source said. 

Speaking to ARA News in Homs suburbs, media activist Ali al-Homsi said that the Syrian army forces and allied militias seized the Qadiri farms in the vicinity of Palmyra in the countryside of Homs after fierce clashes with ISIS.

“The regime’s army targeted ISIS positions near al-Shaer gas field with heavy artillery, killing at least 21 insurgents,” al-Homsi added. 

“Recapturing Mount Mahin and the surrounding towns would help to fortify the Christian town of Sadad (60 kilometers “37 mi” south of Homs) from ISIS. It is an important step towards expelling the extremist group from the southern countryside of Homs,” the source reported.

The ancient Christian town of Sadad has been captured by Islamist militants of al-Nusra Front (Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda) in October 2013. Dozens of Christian Assyrians have been killed during the military operations in the town. 

“The recent advance by the Syria army could facilitate the efforts to storm the historical city of Palmyra which has been under ISIS control for nearly six months,” al-Homsi argued.

Reporting by: Adel Hassan

Source: ARA News

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