Takeover Gives ISIS Path to Attack Christian Towns
ISIS forces yesterday captured the central Syrian city of Mheen, an oasis about 20 km east of the highway connecting Damascus to the key city of Homs. The takeover is by far the farthest west ISIS has pushed inside Syria so far.
The ISIS attack began with a pair of suicide car bombings, and left about 50 casualties among government soldiers. ISIS took the city relatively quickly, and fighting continues on the outskirts, as ISIS pushed on moving against the Christian towns nearby.
Indications are that ISIS is moving northwest, which could mean they’ll eventually challenge for control over the city of Homs itself. This would be another huge loss for the Syrian government, and would effectively cut off metro Damascus from the government’s coastal possessions.
ISIS made its first cautious inroads into the Homs Province back in spring, and with the takeover of Mheen they seem to control a broad section of the province, including the key city of Tadmur and most of the area near the own capital city of Raqqa.