Syrian Army Changes Strategy on Palmyra, Gets Closer to City
The Syrian army adopted new tactics for seizing back Palmyra (Tadmor) in Homs province, and took control of new areas in the city.
The army units backed by popular defense forces regained control of Hayal mountain and Abu al-Favares mines inching closer to Palmyra.
On Saturday, the ISIL started massive troops pullout from Palmyra 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, informed 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 early Saturday morning.
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.
The ISIL captured the historic Syrian town of Palmyra in May from government forces. Many fear that the group damage the town’s archaeological sites as they did in neighboring Iraq earlier this year.
Palmyra’s UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its 2,000-year-old Roman colonnades, other ruins and priceless artifacts. Before Syria’s conflict began in 2011, tens of thousands of tourists visited the remote desert outpost, a cherished landmark referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.”
In March, the ISIL fighters in Iraq razed 3,000-year old Nimrod and bulldozed 2,000-year old Hatra — both UNESCO world heritage sites.
The ISIL militants also recently destroyed a lion statue dating back to the 2nd century in Palmyra, said Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Syrian government’s Antiquities and Museums Department.
He said the statue, discovered in 1977, had stood at the gate of the town’s museum, and had been placed inside a metal box to protect it from damage.