Syrian Army Confronts Daesh in Homs

The Syrian army and its allied forces succeeded in taking back an important mountain and oilfields from Daesh or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Homs province.

Syrian Army Confronts Daesh in Homs

Syrian army and allied National Defense Forces (NDF) secured the Jabal Jazal mountain top along with the oil fields on its flanks. Then, they advanced towards the historical city of Palmyra which is still under the control of Daesh. A part of the valley was wrangled back from the extremist group.

Towards the south of Palmyra, the regime forces made an advance into the Wadi Al-Dhakira where they encountered stiff resistance from Daesh fighters who had taken positions around the hilltop.

During the beginning of the week, Syrian army and its allies were able to inflict losses on Daesh in the province of Homs. They also succeeded in taking complete control of eastern Homs. Daesh controlled areas in the south of the country were subjected to heavy air strikes resulting in the death of several fighters. Military hardware was also destroyed.

The tide has definitely turned in favor of President Bashar al Assad after Russians entered the war on his behalf in late September last year. They started with bombing everyone opposed to Assad including the Western backed and supported opposition forces. They targeted local headquarters, storage facilities and infrastructure of the opposition.

The current regime attacks on Daesh as well as rebel forces have come despite a ceasefire in effect from February 26 (Daesh and Al Nusra front are not part of the temporary ceasefire agreement supported and endorsed by Both America and Russia). Syrian army is also carrying out an offensive in Aleppo governorate.

Daesh or the Islamic State started its blitzkrieg in April 2013 sweeping Northern parts of Syria in a rapid and sustained military assault. By mid 2014, Daesh was in control of large swathes of territory in Syria where it had gradually emerged as the strongest of all groups. There was strict sharia law enforced in the areas under Daesh control.

Daesh was led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and was estimated to have at least 7 thousand fighters in Syria. There were many foreign fighters among its ranks. Daesh was known as the least corrupt of all warring factions in Syria, but it was criticized for its horrific human rights abuses.

The Syrian army did not fight Daesh until June 2014 despite the fact that it was in control of a third of entire Syrian territory. In 2014, Daesh was able to recruit several thousand more fighters while it also made non aggression deals with some rebel groups.

Before Russia intervened in the conflict on September 30, 2015 with its advanced fighter jets, the Syrian army had been cornered by rebels on one hand, and Daesh on the other. It seemed that the collapse of the regime was imminent, however, Russians have blown a new life into the regime whose troops along with the National Defense forces have again taken the offensive in several parts of the country.

The regime advances in against Daesh in Homs and the developments in several other parts of the country have made it clear that the Syrian army has, at last, decided to confront the Daesh threat.

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Bill Schroder

Bill Schroder is a Beirut-based correspondent for The World Beast. He has reported from over a dozen countries in the Middle East for such publications. Follow: Tweets by @SchroderBill