After Fierce Clashes Syrian Army Troops Smash ISIS, Enter Palmyra City
On Thursday, Syrian state television said government troops, backed by army air force, drove back ISIS militants and reached the “heart” of the city.
Army forces have retaken control of Palmyra’s northern hotel district as well as the farms situated west of the city.
Reports said earlier in the day that army soldiers were on the edge of Palmyra, liberating the outskirts of the city, located in the western province of Homs.
In an interview with state-run Ikhbariya TV channel, a Syrian soldier on the ground said the armed unity would press forward beyond Palmyra.
“We say to those gunmen, we are advancing to Palmyra, and to what’s beyond Palmyra, and God willing to Raqqa,” a northern city which serves as the main ISIS stronghold in Syria.
Homs Govoner Talal Barazi told The Associated Press that Syrian forces was approaching the city from three direction.
“We might witness in the next 48 hours an overwhelming victory in Palmyra,” Barazi said, adding that “the army is advancing in a precise and organized way to protect what is possible of monuments and archaeological sites.”
Last May, ISIS Takfiris captured the ruins of Palymra, a UNESCO heritage site, and the adjacent modern city, destroying ancient monuments there, including the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and the iconic Arch of Triumph.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some 200 ISIS terrorists have been killed since the Syrian army began the military campaign to liberate Palmyra more than two weeks ago.
Palmyra’s liberation would deal a significant blow to ISIS terrorists, who have been using the city as a road to the mostly ISIS-held province of Deir Ezzor in Syria’s east.