The Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command has announced their next offensive in central Syria after taking a 15 month hiatus from this front due to the Old City ceasefire agreement which resulted in the Islamist rebel fighters surrendering this historical area in the provincial capital of the Homs Governorate.
Unlike their previous offensives in the Homs Governorate (i.e. Wadi Al-Nasara in mid-2014), the Syrian Armed Forces will concentrate on the rugged terrain in the Al-Rastan Plains that is currently under the control of the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their affiliates from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
For Jabhat Al-Nusra and their allies, the Al-Rastan Plains have been their safe-haven from the Syrian Armed Forces in the Homs Governorate due to a number of tribal agreements with the local government that has kept them immune from the Syrian Arab Air Force’s (SAAF) bombing campaigns.
However, this recently changed, as the Russian Air Force has concentrated its efforts on weakening Jabhat Al-Nusra’s defenses in the imperative cities of Al-Rastan, Talbieseh, Al-Ghantu, and ‘Umm Sharshouh; these aforementioned cities are the lifeline of the Islamist militants in the province.
The Syrian Armed Forces will likely assault the Islamist rebels from two different flanks: the first flank coming from the west at Tasineen, Kafr Na’an, and Jaboureen; the other flank in the north will be the primary attacking point, as the Syrian Armed Forces head south from the Hama-Homs axis.
If the Syrian Armed Forces are successful, they will be in control of one of the most important rebel-held pockets in western Syria.