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Exclusive Photos: Backed by Russian Air Support, Syrian Army Storms ISIS Stronghold in East Hama

Bypassed by previous advances the rugged region now has to be taken to shorten the front line


The Syrian Arab Army with Russian air support is attempting to storm the major ISIS stronghold in eastern Hama countryside, Aqarabyat. 

The operational goal is to tighten ISIS held areas, and force them to retreat back into the wide desert, then hit them from the air while retreating. 

In the last month the mentioned area has been bombed by the Russian Air Force and the Syrian Air Force on a daily basis. The Russian Air Force is playing a major role in hunting ISIS assets at night, Russian helicopters are targeting ISIS tanks and up-armored suicide bomber vehicles, and fuel tankers to cut logistical support for the terrorists in the area. 

Latest information says that a group from the elite Tiger Forces will join the fight here for a last push into the town of Aqarabyat.

Excluding two tiny, isolated enclaves on the border with Israel and Lebanon, eastern Hama is by far the western-most ISIS stronghold left in Syria. The group has been able to defend here for so long because of how rugged the terrain is.

The Syrian army has been able to largely bypass ISIS parked here, since the rugged region is home to few roads of national significance, but this has resulted in an extremely long front line between the army and ISIS. 

Taking eastern Hama would shorten the front line immensely, and greatly benefit the Syrian army by freeing up resources for offensive operations elsewhere. 

Also it would mean the liberation of countless villages, as the area has substantial population — aside from the Euphrates valley itself it is really the only truly populated area of Syria remaining to ISIS. 

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