On March 9, the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces, supported by the Syrian and Russian air forces, liberated the Jirah Airbase from the ISIS terrorist group in the province of Aleppo. The Tiger Forces also got control of the nearby villages of Idrisiyah, Baylan and Durubiyah.
UPD: The Tiger Forces were not able to secure the area. Intense fighting is ongoing.
UPD2 [19:15 CET]: The Tiger Forces control the airbase despite an intense fighting with ISIS terrorists.
The Jirah Airbase is heavily damaged as result of airstrikes and the ISIS actions. However, it has a strategic location east of Deir Hafer.
Now, when the ISIS-held town of Dier Hafer is de-facto cut-off from the rest of the ISIS-held area in central Syria, its liberation will become the main short-term goal of the Syrian army.
Experts believe that after Deir Hafer government forces will likely advance along the Deir Hafer-al-Tabaqah road, expanding the buffer zone east of Khanasser and putting an additional pressure on ISIS units operating in the area of Raqqah.
The hidden Russian-US cooperation in Syria was already proven with the Manbij case when Moscow and Washington acted together in order to prevent the Turkish army and pro-Turkish militant groups from attacking Kurdish forces in the area.
There is a chance that the US and Russia will act jointly in order to retake the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah even if this is not promoted openly in the mainstream media. If government forces reach al-Tabqa, they will isolate Raqqah from the southern flank and US-backed forces will be able to avoid the need to cut across the Euphrates River in the area. In this case, the fall of Raqqah will take place much faster then it’s expected by experts.