The Syrian Armed Forces continued its operations in the eastern countryside of Aleppo capturing Um Adsa, Al-Khalilah, Jafr Mansour, Tell Akoulah and al-Qasr surrounding the ISIS stronghold of Deir Hafer from three directions cutting off its main supply route from Raqqa.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is expected to capture of Deir Hafer in the coming few days. Some sources report that ISIS has already begun withdrawal from the city. The terror group is apparently unable to counter the SAA ground forces backed by Russian airstrikes. Su-25 warplanes have provided close support on an hourly basis in addition to the accurate strikes carried out by the Su-34 bombers on the jihadist group’s back lines.
Noticeably, the Syrian Army decided to besiege the city instead of storming it. The tactic is different from a “head-on fight” chosen by the Command of Euphrates Shield operation in capturing of Al-Bab.
In East Aleppo, SAA falls back mainly on Tiger forces along with pro-government local fighting groups from the towns that has been already freed. This method allows SAA to shift troops faster to other fighting areas like Hama today.
ISIS manpower shortage has started to effect heavily on the battlefield. ISIS has to leave only 400 fighters to defend the whole area from Deir Hafer to Maskanah. Although terror units are well trained and good motivated they are poorly equipped solely relying on VBIEDs to break SAA offensive.
Some pro-government media sources claim that the East Aleppo operation will continue until the seizure of Maskanah. The operation is to lead to effective clearing of the entire eastern countryside of Aleppo and paving the way for further operations in the western countryside of Aleppo against Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Hayyan, Hreitan, Anadan, Rashideen, and Khan Al-Assal.
The SAA upcoming offensive in the western countryside of Aleppo will be more difficult because Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Ahrar Al-Sham are far better equipped than ISIS as they receive weapons and ammo, including TOW missiles, from US-backed Free syrian Army groups. However, the SAA has already got advantage as it controls Nubul and Zahra’a in the north and Al-Assad in the south.