Syrian War Report – August 3, 2017: Govt Forces Enter Strategic Sukhna Town In Homs Province

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Voiceover by Harold Hoover

On Wednesday, the Syrian Arab Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) began a direct storm of the ISIS—held town of Sukhna at the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway.

Government forces captured the ISIS fortifications south and west of the town, stormed the southwestern entrance of the town, and captured several buildings. Syrian and Russian warplanes and attack helicopters supported the advance.

According to reports, a majority of the ISIS fighters withdrew from Sukhna last week, but dozens of them decided to stay in the town to defend it.  Most of these fighters are suicide bombers and snipers.

On Thursday, clashes in the area continued as government forces made additional efforts towards securing the town.  If the SAA and NDF are able to fully control the Sukhna area, government forces will be able to cut off supply lines leading to a collapse of the entire ISIS defense in the eastern Hama countryside.

The ISIS-linked News Agency Amaq claimed on Thursday that 32 Syrian soldiers were killed as a result of an attack on SAA positions east of Salamyah.  According to Amaq, ISIS fighters captured 6 SAA checkpoints near Al-Mafkar village and an SAA HQ in the Olive Press.  During the attack, ISIS fighters also managed to capture a tank, two bulldozers, two 23mm guns, two cars loaded with ammunition, and several vehicles.

Opposition sources claimed that ISIS attacked an SAA position south of Ithryiah with a VBIED, killing 30 Syrian soldiers.  Pro-government sources denied these claims.

The Syrian Defense Ministry announced that 330 vehicles, 3 battle tanks, 11 artillery pieces, 5 machine guns, 12 headquarters, and 3 weapons and munition depots belonging to ISIS were destroyed during the recent operations near the Euphrates River in the southern Raqqah countryside.  Government forces are now developing momentum in an attempt to consolidate the recent gains and to take control over additional important points in the area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced that its special operations forces infiltrated the Mallah area in western Aleppo and killed some 20 pro-government fighters, injured 10 others, and damaged a BMP vehicle.  According to pro-government sources, the SAA and NDF repelled the infiltration attempt and inflicted heavy casualties upon the terrorists.

The Syrian government has reportedly disbanded the Desert Hawks Brigade (Liwa Suqur al-Sahara). The decision followed a series of the questionable events linked to the group.  The Desert Hawks Brigade had been temporarily deployed to the eastern Hama countryside for a widely-expected operation to liberate the ISIS-held town of Uqayribat.  However, the brigade withdrew from the area after a few days of fighting. According to local sources, tensions with the SAA and other pro-government units were the reason behind the decision.

Members of the Desert Hawks Brigade will reportedly have an opportunity to join the SAA 5th Assault Corps, the Qalamoun Shield Forces, or other pro-government units.  The Desert Hawks Brigade’s commander, Colonel Mohammad Jaber allegedly left Syria and is now in Russia where he and his brother, Aymen al-Jaber, have some property.

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  • gustavo

    Once again, you can see only one or two helicopters given support to Syria army, where one would expect to see 10 or 15 helicopters providing this support. The air support from Russia is not enough to speed up the advance of Syria-Hezbolah-Iran-Russia ground forces.

    • anders hansen

      You are wrong, SAA are winning all over the battlefield , they are not in a hurry, and 2-3 heli in support of shukna is more than enough, there are less than 200 isis left there, but SAA is using clever calm tactics to reduce loss in man power

      • Justin Ryan

        I totally agree!

        • martin aguilar

          Stupid Justin ! SAA winning !! ha ha ha it hurts american-british scum !

          • Justin Ryan

            Huh?
            I agreed with Anders saying that the SAA are winning!
            Whats your problem?

      • Jens Holm

        I dont see any clever SAA in most matters.

        • martin aguilar

          Stupid Jens, you must be Yank !

          • Jens Holm

            Its a military comment in all matters and would be the same at each continent by any just in the middle commentator having normal knowledge.

            Fine with me to be and american today, but I do divede those people up in good, bad and the middle as well.

            In the morning today I was a kurd. Im still tired in my hands. At least I was dancing with women as well.

        • anders hansen

          er du dansker jens?

        • grumpy_carpenter

          Really? Outflanking the mighty US Army at Al-Tanf with an audacious move leaving them stranded in the desert with no front to fight on and foiling the whole US scheme to cut off Syria from Iraq and Iran wasn’t clever enough for you?

    • Jens Holm

      Once again, You are wrong. Im sure You have told that many times and are a slow learner.

      The main problem about the SAA advance is SAA and not russian helicopters.

    • grumpy_carpenter

      The SAA have total air superiority and are advancing ….. one or two helicopters are still one or two more than ISIS has. Do you think they would advance faster with no air support? Russia has basically turned the war around for the Syrians and gave them their country back yet you feel they aren’t doing enough ….. how much do you think the Russians owe the Syrians?

  • northerntruthseeker .

    This is an agonizing slow advance… The US is of course continuing to flood as many weapons as it can to its fraud “ISIS” forces, but they cannot stop the slow and steady advance towards Deir Ez-Zor….

    We can only hope that the advance quickens as some new reports are coming out that ISIS will try one last massive assault on Deir to seize the town before the SAA is able to get there…..

    • Attrition47

      Slow but sure, the US head-hopping, heart-eating rapers haven’t been able to do much more than play for time. No more costly reverses like the re-capture of Palmyra.

      • Jens Holm

        Even goats and sheep speak russian out there.

    • Justin Ryan

      And flooding in Intel!

    • Jens Holm

      Hahahahaha

  • Nigel Maund

    The massive pincer attack on Deir Ezzor gathers pace! Let’s hope for an early and comprehensive success by the SAA and RAF as this will unhinge ISIS and the US “Deep State” and gain control of key resource assets and infrastructure.