Russian-Syrian-Iranian offensive launched on Shaer in Homs; ISIS retreating

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May 23, 2016 – 

RusVesna – 

Translated by J. Arnoldski

Fierce fighting is currently ongoing outside of Palmyra near the strategic T-4 airbase and the Shaer gas fields.

Arab media are reporting not for the first time that Russian marines are allegedly going on the offensive against ISIS positions together with Syrian Arab Army government troops at this part of the front in Homs province. 

“Syrian special forces, the ‘Tigers’, are being covered by Russian air forces in the air and on the ground by Russian marines as well as by the 11th and 18th Syrian Arab Army tank divisions. They have now continued their counter-offensive against ISIS gangs and have liberated several heights south of the T-4 airbase from militants,” Almasdar agency reports. 

“The main goal of government forces and Russian marines is [capturing] ISIS positions at the strategic heights of Jabal al-Bard east of the city of Qaryatayn. In the coming days, it is expected that Syrian and Russian units will increase pressure on the positions of ISIS militants holding the Jabal al-Bard height next to the mountain range,” Arab journalists added. 

A military source currently located in Syria commented on this information for Russian Spring.

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“Are there marines in the desert? Are the submarines of the Northern fleet also involved?” the source joked with Russian Spring. 

“Russian marines are defending our military installations in Syrian Latakia, primarily near the port of Tartus, but have never participated in combat operations in the desert. Russia has a number of troops for deployment given their specific skills when the necessity arises,” the source added.

“Russian air forces are continuing to bomb ISIS, but marines are not participating in combat operations in Syria – this is for sure,” the source summed up for Russian Spring. 

Earlier, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation stated that Russian special forces are actively operating in Syria.

It is currently known that the Syrian ‘Tigers’ and “Desert Falcons’ brigades, the 68th brigade and 18th tank division of the Syrian Arab Army, and Iranian volunteers of the Abu Fadl al-Abbas and Imam Ali brigades are leading an assault on the Shaer gas fields captured by ISIS terrorists. 

It has been reported the the offensive began this morning after a series of Russian and Syrian airstrikes. Aircraft launched missiles and bomb strikes at the mountain range of Jabal al-Shaer. A successful bombing led to the retreat of ISIS to the destroyed gas wells located to the east. 

Driving the militants into a corner, government troops and allied groups have begun a mass-scale offensive. At the moment, fierce fighting continues on the outskirts of the Shaer ridge where military forces have attempted to break through ISIS’ first line of defense. 

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