International Military Review – Syria & Iraq, Mar. 29, 2016

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The Russian Air Force is continuing an aerial campaign in the province of Homs. Following the liberation of Palmyra, Russian warplanes launched air raids in the area of the ISIS stronghold of Sukhanah and at the Palmyra-Sukhanah road. These air raids set the foothold for an expected offensive of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies through the Palmyra- Sukhanah-Deir Ezzor road in order to relieve the 104th Republican Brigade besieged by ISIS.

On a tactical level, the liberation of Palmyra and the expected advance on Sukhanah  greatly reduced ISIS’ ability to threaten key government supply lines, especially along the M5 highway and the road to Aleppo.

The pro-government forces have also launched an operation to seize the town of Quraytayn which is located south from the Tiyas Crossroads. The Syrian forces have already taken Hazm al-Gharbiyat and been advancing on the western gates. Quraytayn is also an important logistical potion, liberation of which will increase the SAA’s freedom of operation in the province.

In a separate development, the SAA and Hezbollah units have liberated the Air Defence Base at the village of Bala al-Kadim and the nearby Zahir Farm pushing Al-Nusra militants from this area in East Ghouta.

How, the Syrian forces control with fire Haush Jarabo which is the only way for the pocket. This makes very difficult for Jaish al-Islam, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army to retreat from the pocket. If Haush Jarabo is seized by the pro-government forces, the strategic situation will become hopeless for the militants encircled there.

On Mar.29, the Iraqi security forces engaged in clashes with ISIS in the village of al-Nasr , west of Makhmour. This advance is a part of the Ninewa operation aimed to recapture villages west of Makhmur District, southwest of Arbil . The 71st Brigade of the 15th Iraqi Army Division, Peshmerga, Popular Mobilization, and tribal fighters are involved in there. Coalition airstrikes and artillery from a U.S. Marine firebase support these forces.

The Turkish military stated that ISIS launched rockets at the Bashiqa base that houses Turkish forces northeast of Mosul on Mar.26. 1 Turkish soldier was killed and 1 wounded.

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