ISIS takes town of Maheen in Homs province

 ISIS takes town of Maheen in Homs province
Photo by: Khalid Mohammed
Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen celebrate March 31, 2015, as they hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi forces battled Islamic State militants holed up in downtown Tikrit, going house to house Tuesday in search of snipers and booby traps, and the prime minister said security forces had reached the heart of the city. (Associated Press) **FILE**

In spite of airstrikes from allied and Russian forces, Islamic State fighters captured the town of Maheen in Homs province, Syria, after two suicide car bombings inside the area to lead the assault on Syrian government forces. Suicide bombings are a favorite ISIS tactic and the prize included a large government complex and ammunitions dump inside the town.

Observers say approximately 50 Syrian government troops were killed or wounded. ISIS offensive operations were also reported in the nearby Christian enclave of Sadad, where the ancient language or Aramaic is still spoken.

Observers have said that Russian airstrikes have targeted mainly opposition rebels to the Assad regime versus ISIS positions and American led coalition bombings have been limited. Here are recent comments from Moeen Al- Kadhimi, a spokesman for the Iran-backed Badr Corps militia, “Iraqi people in general, not only us, have started to feel that the Americans are not serious at all about the fight against Islamic State…Every victory that the PMF does without the help of the Americans is a big embarrassment for the Americans.”

The BBC reports ISIS is expanding beyond its long held regions in the east and north of Syria as well as Western Iraq. Islamic State forces are now within twenty kilometers of a strategic road that connects Damascus to Homs and other more northern cities. Cutting off Syrian Army access via this road to the north would be a significant setback to the Assad regime.




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