ISIS has launched a large-scale counter-attack against the Syrian Arab army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Qalamoun Shield Forces (QSF) in the Uqayribat area inside the ISIS-held pocket in eastern Hama.
According to some local sources and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), ISIS units successfully overrun the government forces defense and entered into the town of Uqayribat. Reports suggest that the SAA and its allies withdrew from the area and the town fell into the hands of ISIS.
The ISIS reportedly achieved this success because the Syrian military had redeployed a significant force from eastern Hama to Deir Ezzor provice where the SAA was deeply involved in breaking the ISIS siege on Deir Ezzor city and Deir Ezzor airport.
So far, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq has not provided photos or videos confirming gains against the SAA, the NDF and the QSF in eastern Hama. A major part of the Amaq infrusstructure has been already destroyed as a result of clashes in the area.
If the reports are confirmed, this will further complicate the situation in eastern Hama where government forces are pushed to operate in a cross country with high number of ISIS fortified positions and hills. While it’s clear that ISIS is a no-win situation in eastern Hama, the ISIS-held pocket draws notable resources of the SAA and its allies that could be used on other frontlines.