On March 14, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled several hideouts of ISIS in a desert area southwester of the city of Deir Ezzor from its positions in the Tharda mount, according to the Syrian pro-opposition Jorf News outlet.
The desert area in the western Deir Ezzor is a part of the Homs desert, which covers thousands of square kilometers between Homs, Deir Ezzor, Damascus and Raqqa. ISIS maintains a strong presence in the heart of this desert.
According to the available information, more than 1,000 terrorists are currently stationed in the Homs desert. These fighters are believed to be highly-experienced and well-armed.
In a recent report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that the desert has become a safe haven for ISIS. The monitoring group said that over 300 terrorists managed to flee from their last positions in the middle Euphrates River Valley to the desert over the last few weeks.
Pro-government activists believe that the new artillery strikes near the city of Deir Ezzor were aimed at preventing more terrorists from reaching the Homs desert.
These efforts remain short of what is needed to neutralize the terrorist group’s threat in central Syria. The upcoming few months will likely witness a large-scale military operation against ISIS remnants in the Homs desert and several regions around it.
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