At least 19 ISIS fighters and three pro-Assad militia members were killed today in heavy fighting at the village of Jub al-Jarah, an Alawite village in the northeast of the Homs Province. Six civilians were also wounded.
Jub al-Jarah is about 30 miles northwest of Tadmur, and 20 miles northeast of Homs. ISIS took Tadmur, and the associated ruins of Palmyra, weeks ago and seemed to be eager to expand deeper into Homs Province.
The Alawites are a significant religious minority in Syria, a branch of Shi’a Islam. President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite, and subsequently the entire group is seen both as a pro-Assad faction, and a popular target for Sunni Islamist rebel factions like al-Qaeda.
With ISIS forces moving deeper into Homs, villages in their path have had to decide whether to resist or flee closer to Damascus. Though today’s battle probably isn’t the end of the fight over Jub al-Jarah, the locals for now seem to be mustering a surprising amount of resistance.