ISIS on the Brink of Losing Palmyra and Quryatayn
Last May, the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) was seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) – three months later, the predominately Syriac Christian town of Qaryatayn – together with dozens of villages in eastern Homs – was captured during an aggressive offensive in early August.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was forced to implement a large-scale retreat due to the number of enemy offensives launched around the country; these offensives included the Idlib, Aleppo, Deir Ezzor, and Hama Governorates.
However, with the introduction of Russian airstrikes in late September, the momentum on the battlefield has once again shifted in favor of the government forces.
Subsequently, ISIS fighters have seen their frontlines overstretched, causing significant territorial losses at Al-Hasakah & Sinjar (northern Iraqi Kurdistan) to the Kurds, Tikrit & Baiji to the Iraqi Army and lately, the Kuweiris Airbase to the elite Tiger Forces of the SAA.
Furthermore, in the past weeks, the SAA has been able to recapture the al-Qadri farms, the northern perimeter of the Ancient Quarries of Palmyra, and most significantly the strategic hilltop of Tal SyriaTel which overlooks the western gates of the city.
The government forces have also secured the oil rich Al-Sha’er Gas Fields in the Al-Sha’er Mountains, which are located north of Palmyra and serve as a vital economic boost to the Syrian economy.
Effectively, this leaves government forces a mere 4 kilometers from Palmyra – reportedly within visible distance.
The tribes and civilians living inside of Palmyra have been heavily persecuted by the ISIS Shari’ah Council, who rules this territory with an iron fist; this has forced many Syrians to flee this area for safer quarters.