Iranian-backed forces are building new positions in the southern Homs countryside to protect phosphate mines in the region from ISIS cells, a number of Syrian opposition sources reported on February 23.
According to the sources, Iranian-backed forces established two new positions near the area of al-Souaniye, where a large phosphate mine is located. The remaining mines are located around the town of Khunayfis, a few kilometers to the west.
Iranian-backed forces also deployed large reinforcements in al-Souniye and Khunayfis to guard phosphate mines from ISIS cells, which are known to be present in the nearby Homs desert.
Earlier this month, ISIS cells attacked Iranian forces guarding Khunayfis mines. Three fighters were killed and around four others were injured.
In 2020, the Damascus government finalized reconstruction works at phosphate factories in southern Homs mines. Over the last four years, the mines attracted investments from Russian, Iran and Serbia.
ISIS cells in the Homs desert pose a dangerous threat to al-Souniye and Khunayfis mines, which produce hundreds of thousands of tons of phosphate every year.
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