International Military Review – Syria, Oct 23, 2015

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On Wednesday, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Al-Nusra” and its allies from Jund Al-Aqsa launched a powerful assault on the strategic town of Al-Si’in inside the Hama province. Intense firefights between the militants and the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) have been going since yesterday.

This is likely the first of many attacks on the town of Al-Si’in. The town has become the focal point of their Hama offensive because it is strategically located 30km to the west of the Syrian Government’s only supply route to the Aleppo Governorate: Khanasser Highway. Furthermore, if Al-Si’in is lost to Jabhat Al-Nusra, the aforementioned terrorist group will have access to the two main roads that lead into both the Hama and Al-Salamiyah districts.

According to reports, militants withdrew additional forces from the Al-Ghab Plains front of the volatile battle for Jabal Al-Akrad (Kurdish Mountains) inside the Latakia Governorate northeastern countryside. So, SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence expects a lull there.

Separately, the Syrian Arab Army’s “Cheetah Forces”led by Colonel Shady Isma’eel entered the town of Sheikh Ahmad in the suburbs of the Kuweires Military Airbase after intense firefights against ISIS. The NDF supports the SAA from the recently captured village of Tal Sab’een. This area is located approximately 4km away from the airbase. Thus, despite the adamant ISIS holdout, the SAA has made one more step to lift the siege from the Kuweires Military Airbase.

Elsewhere, ISIS launched an offensive on the Deir Ez-zour Military Airport’s outer parameters, targeting the southeastern gates protected by the SAA. ISIS successfully passed outside perimeter and pushed to the gates. Intense firefights started there.

According to the Arab sources, no more than one hour later, the Russian Air Force’s SU-24 fighter jets came into the Deir Ez-zour province to succor the Syrian Arab Army soldiers at the military airport. This proved extremely effective, as ISIS offensive was brocken due to their lack of cover against the airstrikes. As result, 25 militants were killed and over 40 were injured.

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