On October 1, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies stormed the western entrance of al-Qaryatayn town in the eastern Homs countryside, according to Syrian opposition sources. The sources added that the SAA shelled ISIS positions inside the town with mortars before launching its attack.
Earlier Syrian pro-government sources said that the SAA encircled al-Qaryatayn town. Moreover, Syrian warplanes conducted dozens of reconnaissance sorties over it, according to the sources.
Locals who were able to escape from al-Qaryatayn town said that the Syrian government cut and jammed all sorts of communications inside the town. This explains why the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq didn’t publish any updates from the town so far.
Locals also revealed that ISIS fighters and supporters in al-Qaryatayn arrested 6 pro-SAA civilians after capturing the town on September 29. The 6 civilians were likely executed later by ISIS fighters.
Meanwhile, SAA soldiers who withdrew from the town told South Front that a majority of civilians in the town welcomed ISIS cells, and even joined ISIS fighters in the street to support them. The SAA decided to withdraw from the town to avoid harming civilians.
The SAA will likely recapture the al-Qaryatayn in the nearest future. SAA soldiers said that there are only few dozens of poorly armed ISIS fighters inside the town. According to the soldiers, ISIS was able to capture the town only because the SAA had withdrawn from it.