The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have been slowly developing their advance on militant positions in the so-called Rastan pocket in northern Homs, which was launched on April 15.
On April 15, government troops liberated the villages of Qantara, Qunaytirat and Izz al-Din, according to pro-government sources.
By April 16, the SAA and its allies have established control of the village of Beit Ray and Jinn Mountain as well as entered the area of Wadi Khanazir.
However, local sources indicate that the SAA’s force in the area has faced a series hit and run attacks from militants affilated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda). The SAA gains are still shaky and government troops will have to secure their positions.
Another problem for the SAA is that almost all elite pro-government units are currently deployed in the Damascus countryisde where they had been involved in the operation in Eastern Ghouta.
The situation is developing.
According to pro-government sources, the advance is aimed at pressuring local militants to accept a full reconciliation agreement and to lay down the arms or to withdraw to other militant-held areas.