President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, together with their allies, have reportedly made gains on several fronts. In the Western Hama province, the Syrian army has captured the village Sarha, which is a strategic location near the town of Rahjan that intelligence officials told TV7 “is a key to gain control of the region.” The battles the Syria military is waging in Hama province are directed at the Islamist Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham, which has reported links to Al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, the Syrian military released footage of soldiers carrying both Syrian and Hezbollah flags near the Syrian border with Iraq, where the Syrian forces met with both Iraqi forces and Iranian backed militias that reportedly arrived there to join the fight against the Islamic State. The footage comes as the Syrian army, together with its allies, surrounded and started to enter Albu Kamal, the largest town still held by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, since the extreme Muslim group lost the city of Raqqa. The Islamic State’s caliphate has been all but destroyed over the past two years, remaining only in Albu Kamal in Syria and Rawa in Iraq, in a few neighboring towns and patches of desert, and some isolated pockets elsewhere. Nevertheless, intelligence official emphasized that the battle against the Islamic State is far from over, as its radical ideology has infiltrated many Muslim communities around the world.