Demining operations in Al-Sukhnah city leave at least 12 dead of the regime forces and 17 ISIS members killed during the Russian strikes on its dessert
The Russian and the regime’s warplanes and the regime forces and their allied militiamen continue their intensive shelling on areas in Al-Sukhnah dessert located in the eastern countryside of Homs, in an attempt by the regime forces to advance more. This comes as part of the fortification operation of Al-Sukhnah city from any future counter attacks by ISIS. Thus, they managed yesterday to advance 2 km to the east of Al-Sukhnah city to the road leading to Deir Ezzor and one km to the north of the city on Al-Sukhnah – Al-Tayba – Al-Kom road.
The intensive shelling operations executed in Al-Sukhnah dessert coincided with the continuation of the demining operation of the landmines planted in Al-Sukhnah city. The SOHR learned that at least 12 members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen were killed and others were injured as a result of an explosion that occurred while trying to demine houses in Al-Sukhnah city. The death toll is still likely to rise because some of the injured are in a critical condition. The regime forces managed to remove hundreds of mines that had been planted by ISIS in Al-Sukhnah city, which used to be the last city under its control in Homs Province. The SOHR also documented the death of at least 17 ISIS members in the Russian raids that that targeted the suburbs of Al-Sukhnah and its northern and eastern desserts.
It is worth mentioning that the regime forces managed on Saturday, the 5th of August, to make an important and strategic advancement in the Syrian dessert. The regime forces and their allied militiamen, of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, managed to take control of Al-Sukhnah city, which was considered the last city under the control of ISIS there. The city fell under their control after intensive and violent artillery and rocket shelling by them and intensive shelling by the Russian and the regime’s warplanes on the city. Reliable sources confirmed to the SOHR that the regime forces continue inspecting the city looking for any hideouts or any ISIS members in the city which fell under their fire 11 days ago but could not impose their military control over the city on the ground because of tens of ISIS members who still hinder their way as they refuse to surrender or withdraw from the city, despite the mediation of the city and area elders, and insist on continuing to fight till the end. The SOHR also learned that the remaining ISIS members withdrew from the city. The SOHR also documented the death of at least 30 ISIS members during the regime’s advancement operation since the 5th of August, 2017 in addition to the injury of others. The SOHR had also published at the end of July 2017 that the tens of ISIS members remaining in the city continued to refuse withdrawing from Al-Sukhnah city which had been experiencing intensive aerial bombardments by the Russian and the regime’s warplanes targeting the outskirts of the city. Reliable sources confirmed then to the SOHR that most of the remaining ISIS members were from the people of Al-Sukhnah and chose to fight till the end, refusing to withdraw from the city they seized its control in mid May 2015. The SOHR had also published that on the 28th of July 2017 that ISIS carried out a series of withdrawals from Al-Sukhnah city, which was considered the last city under its control in Homs Province. Cross sources confirmed then to the SOHR that most of ISIS members withdrew from the city after the regime forces and their allied militiamen, of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, managed less than 24 hours before that date to reach the outskirts of the city. ISIS members started to withdraw when the city fell under the regime’s fire following the intensive shelling that the city had been witnessing for 50 days. The regime had lost the city to ISIS in the first half of 2015 when the latter carried out a violent attack on the city and vast areas of Palmyra desert and city.