Islamist rebels cut important highway in Homs, Syrian Army fights back


On Thursday evening, Islamist rebels stormed and seized a checkpoint held by Syrian government troops along the Homs-Salamiyah highway, thus temporarily closing the road.

Backed by armored vehicles and scores of fighters, Ahrar al-Sham captured the Shukarah checkpoint around 9 p.m. after overwhelming the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 333th Regiment and the National Defence Forces (NDF).

However, within minutes of withdrawing from the site, the 333th Regiment and NDF called upon elements of the SAA’s Tiger Forces stationed at Salamiyah to reinforce for a mounting government counter-offensive.

By 10 p.m. the SAA and NDF had fully recaptured the Shukarah checkpoint, forcing Ahrar al-Sham to retreat to positions on the outskirts of the largely Alawite village of Khunayfis which neighbours the Shukarah checkpoint.

A military source briefing Al-Masdar News by phone about the clashes said 1 Syrian soldier was killed while 6 were injured. Ahrar al-Sham’s casualties are unbeknownst.

Despite an hour-long closure, the government-held Homs-Salamiyah highway is now reopened to the public.


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