Islamists push Syrian army back in Homs

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Syrian army soldiers. File photo

ARA News

HOMS – Militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) launched an offensive on the Syrian regime’s army positions in the countryside of Homs province, activists reported on Friday.

ISIS fighters carried out a surprise attack on the Syrian army headquarters in the Jib al-Jarrah district east of Homs, where fierce clashes took place and eventually ended with the army troops withdrawing towards the city of Homs.

“The Islamic State militants took over three hills in Jab al-Jarrah, overlooking the eastern neighbourhoods of Homs city,” media activist Amro al-Hussein told ARA News in Homs. “Pro-regime troops were forced to evacuate their headquarters in the district under heavy mortar shelling by ISIS.”

The population in Jib al-Jarrah district is known for its support to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The district has been under the control of the regime forces since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.

“The terrorists [ISIS] launched a surprise attack on our forces. It was unexpected. We withdrew to avoid unnecessary losses in our ranks,” a Syrian army officer told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Daesh won’t hold for long in the district because the entire province in under the control of the Syrian army and retaking those hills won’t take a lot of effort,” the official said, using another acronym for ISIS. 

“We will not give this terror group any opportunity to return to Homs province. The coming hours will prove that,” he said, without giving further details about their losses. 

Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa 

Source: ARA News

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