Heavy clashes erupted in the late hours of September 20 between units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and ISIS cells in the southern Raqqa countryside.
A military source told Sputnik that the army was conducting a combing operation southwest of the city of Rusafa when it stumbled upon a fortified position of the terrorist group.
“SAA units were carrying out routine combing missions in the desert area … when a group of ISIS fighters, that was hiding in one of the desert’s hills, showed up,” the Russian news agency quoted the source as saying.
According to the source, ISIS fighters used heavy weapons mounted on pick-up vehicles and guided missiles during the clashes. However, the SAA managed to prevail after killing many terrorists and forcing the rest to withdrew back to the Homs desert.
The army liberated most of the southern Raqqa countryside in 2017. Back then, the terrorist group’s defenses in the region collapsed under heavy Syrian and Russian bombardment.
The Rusafa clashes show that the terrorist group is now trying to reestablish positions in southern Raqqa, likely relying on the Homs desert as a rear base.