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Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Kills Tens of Takfiri Terrorists in Hama Province

12 July 2015 14:35



The Syrian army killed a large group of Takfiri terrorists in the province of Hama, including a senior commander.

The army units killed tens of the Al Nusra Front terrorist group in Qastoun village in the Northwestern parts of Hama.

Abu Hazifa, a senior commander of the Al Nusra Front, was among the dead in Qastoun province.

Also in the past 24 hours, the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group started massive troops pullout from the city of Palmyra (Tadmor) in Homs province following a series of gains by the Syrian army in the region.

Hundreds of ISIL terrorists have started retreating from Palmyra towards the Reqqa province as the army regained control of the surrounding areas of the city and Syrian forces are now only one kilometer away from the city, the informed military sources said.

Early Saturday morning sources informed that the Syrian army was about a mile away from the city.

“The Syrian troops are only 1,500 meters away from Palmyra and the city is within the reach of the army,” a Syrian military source told FNA.

The source noted that the Syrian forces have taken control of al-Siyaqeh school in the suburbs of Palmyra after killing tens of ISIL terrorists and destroying a many of their military equipment.

Meantime, the Syrian army killed at least 30 ISIL Takfiri terrorists during ongoing battles in the outskirts of the ancient city of Palmyra.

The battles in the vicinity of this millennia-old oasis city have been gaining momentum in recent days, as the Syrian forces were said to be waging a counter-offensive to recapture Palmyra from the ISIL hands, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

On Thursday, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said the Syrian forces had launched an offensive to expel the ISIL group from the ancient city of Palmyra in the Eastern countryside of Homs province.

The army forces have been only few kilometers from the Western entrance of Palmyra, after the troops managed to retake around 15 kilometers West of the city amid the withdrawal of many ISIL militants toward the Eastern and Central parts of the city.

The military operation will continue until the recapture of Palmyra, the TV said, adding that the government forces are attacking from three directions.

Palmyra is on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and located about 215 kilometers (133 miles) Northeast of the capital, Damascus.

Also, the UN experts said that almost 5,500 Tunisians are fighting alongside Takfiri militants abroad, urging Tunis to adopt a “national strategic plan” to curb the flow.

“The number of Tunisian foreign fighters is one of the highest among those travelling to join conflicts abroad such as in Syria and Iraq,” said Elzbieta Karska, current head of a UN working group on the use of mercenaries.

“Sophisticated travel networks operate to take recruits across the porous borders, and sometimes through areas where trafficking in people and illicit goods may not be effectively controlled,” Karska said after an eight-day mission to Tunisia.

“Testimony has documented that the routes taken entail travel through Libya, then Turkey and its border at Antakya, and then Syria,” she said.

Karska also pointed to possible links between mercenaries and foreign recruits to groups such as the ISIL terrorist group battling in Iraq and Syria.

“It was reported to us that recruiters in these networks are well paid — one figure given is that of $3,000 to $10,000 per new recruit, depending on the person’s qualifications,” she said.

She said an estimated 4,000 Tunisians were in Syria, between 1,000 and 1,500 in Libya, 200 in Iraq, 60 in Mali and 50 in Yemen. Around 625 who have returned from Iraq are being prosecuted, the expert said.

Karska urged Tunisian authorities to adopt “a national strategic plan… (to) respond to the diverse profiles and recruitment methods… (to) ensure the comprehensive adoption of international human rights standards in all its elements”.

Tunisia has brought in a raft of new security measures, including arming tourist police, since an extremist gunman killed 38 foreign holidaymakers, 30 of them Britons, at a beach resort on June 26.

Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Tunisian authorities of “arbitrarily preventing citizens from travelling outside the country since at least March”.

It said the policy affected mainly men and women under 35.

“Based on official statements, the measure is part of efforts to prevent people from joining extremist armed groups abroad,” the New York-based group said.

“However, turning back citizens at the airport, without any order from a prosecutor or a court, is arbitrary and violates Tunisian and international law.”

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