Today, Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have captured the Al-Madraj hill and 3 ISIS positions southeast of Umm al-Sarg al-Kabli in the eastern Homs countryside.

The advance followed intense strikes by warplanes and TOS-1A heavy multiple rocket launcher systems on ISIS positions in the area.

Pro-government sources spoke about the imminent resumption of the SAA military operation against ISIS in the eastern Aleppo countryside. Its first goal seems to be the Al-Jarah military airport, which is used by ISIS militants as a forward base in the area. Militants also use the airport to launch attacks against SAA positions. For example, on Sunday, they attacked SAA positions in Adrisa.

If the airbase is liberated, the strategic town of Maskaneh will become the next target of the advance. Maskaneh is located between the eastern Aleppo countryside and the western Raqqa countryside.

Separately, the SAA may also start an operation from the eastern Hama countryside to capture the Al-Aqerabbat area.

Thus, the SAA aims to capture the desert region in the Maskana-Aqerabbat-Palmyra triangle. If it captures this area and the strategic town of Al-Sokhna, ISIS will not be able to defend the desert road between Al-Sokhna and Deir Ezzor.

These operations will likely take place at the same time as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) resume their push towards the ISIS-held city of Raqqa.

It is also believed that the main purpose of the safe zones agreement signed in Astana is to allow sides to focus combating ISIS in the Syrian desert. Thus, Syria, Iran, Russia and US will work together informally.

It’s also worth to mention that US-led collation warplanes targeted ISIS around Palmyra on Sunday.

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