ISIS forces have begun a long-anticipated westward offensive into Syrian government territory, hitting the central Homs Province and attacking a major military airport in the area.
The rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed ISIS was also attacking targets in the nearby Hama Province, and had killed 74 soldiers there over the course of a three-day battle.
Syrian officials hadn’t confirmed any military death tolls yet, but alleged a “massacre against civilians” in the course of an ISIS attack on a village in Hama.
ISIS has occasionally tested Syrian defenses in the central provinces in the past, but this latest round of offensives is seen as a more significant one, and may indicate this is ISIS’ preferred target for territorial growth in Syria right now.
Right now, ISIS territory in Syria is mostly in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa Provinces, and they also hold small portions of Hasakeh and Aleppo Provinces. In recent months they’ve tried to expand deeper into Aleppo and Hasakeh against Kurdish targets, but with mixed results.