ISIS fighters remaining in the Homs desert launched a large counter-attack against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and recaptured a wide area in the western Deir Ezzor countryside, the pro-government blog al-Masdar News reported on September 16.
A source in the SAA told the blog that the SAA was forced to withdraw from all the recently liberated areas when ISIS fighters managed to penetrate its defense. According to the source, at least nine soldiers and one officer of the SAA were killed by the terrorist group.
A day earlier, Syrian pro-government activists and the tribal force of the National Defense Forces (NDF) claimed that the SAA cleared the entire region between the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway and the road linking the T-2 and T-3 stations. The new ISIS counter attack confirms that these claims are false.
The SAA, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, launched a military operation to clear the ISIS-held pocket in the Homs desert on September 9. During the first few days the SAA achieved a notable progress. However, it appears that a lack of manpower on this fornt affected the SAA operation.