DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:45 A.M.) – As Al-Masdar News reported earlier, Wednesday became quite a fruitful day for Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in eastern Aleppo countryside in terms of territorial gains as government forces were able to advance significantly in Maskanah Plains, consequently liberating 5 villages from the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS).
The latest advance by SAA’s elite Tiger Forces division indicates the intention of High Command to outflank IS stronghold, Maskanah town, which currently lies just 6 kilometres southeast of Army’s frontline positions in Ajoziyah village.
Instead of storming the fortified town frontally, government forces are intending to conduct an operation similar to the one which led to liberation of Deir Hafer city earlier this year.
Back then, Syrian Army managed to besiege the city from three flanks leaving only one way for IS militants to retreat. Strategy proved successful as jihadists withdrew from Deir Hafer almost without putting up a fight.
The same strategy is to be implemented in Maskanah. The town will be surrounded from three sides, with one road available for jihadists to leave. Considering the situation on Raqqa front, where de-facto capital of IS is almost besieged by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), jihadists are unlikely to offer serious resistance to government troops in Maskanah.
Instead, in these conditions it would be logical for them to redeploy their main forces from Maskanah Plains to Raqqa city to reinforce their defenses ahead of imminent assault.
As for government forces, they will accomplish two tasks at once: impose control over imperative town of Maskanah and link eastern Aleppo countryside directly to Khanasser – Ithriyah road. The latter move will effectively eliminate IS threat to this vital supply line once and for all.