BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 P.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) took advantage of the poor weather in central Syria this past weekend to stage a small offensive to capture a mountain area near the Al-Raqqa Governorate’s border.
According to a military source in eastern Homs, the Islamic State was able to capture the mountain town of Al-Kawm in the Al-Sukhnah area after killing over 15 Syrian Arab Army soldiers.
The pro-government Palestinian paramilitary group Liwaa Al-Quds also retreated in order to regroup and secure the area near the historical city of Al-Rusafa in the southern countryside of the Al-Raqqa Governorate.
Syrian Arab Army reinforcements have since entered the area and will be conducting a counter-attack in the coming hours as they look to clear these mountains north of Al-Sukhnah.
Another army source in the area told Al-Masdar that they have faced problems between Al-Sukhnah and Al-Rusafa before; this is due to the absence of checkpoints in this mountainous region.
He added that the Syrian military often conducts night patrols along this road, but it is difficult to clear these mountains as of now because this will require a big operation.
The Islamic State is believed to be hiding between 2,000-3,000 fighters in central Syria, with large number of them hiding in Badiya Al-Sham region’s caves that are located between the Deir Ezzor and Homs governorates.