ISIS in deep trouble as Syrian troops establish fire control over Palmyra
After reaching the foothill of Jabbal Hayyal on Friday, elements of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to seize the highest point of the strategic mountain on Sunday afternoon.
This point (known as hill 939,5) has given the SAA fire control over the Palmyra Triangle (Palmyra junction) and the southwestern part of Palmyra city itself.
Meanwhile, Syrian government forces also took control of the Quarries area northwest of Palmyra in what appears to be a pincer manuever much similar to the 1st Palmyra offensive back in March, 2016.
Effectively, the SAA has officially kicked off its operations to retake the ancient city. Leading this offensive is the Russian-trained 5th Legion, the 18th Tank Division, Military Shield Forces, Al-Badia branch, Shaitat tribesmen alongside the National Defence Forces.
Further reinforcements are expected to arrive in the coming days as government forces build up for a full-scale assault on Palmyra.
Meanwhile, Russian warplanes play an important role in dislodging ISIS militants from their frontline positions and also provide the SAA with much needed fire support.
ISIS retook Palmyra in December, 2016 following a blitz offensive that involved between 4,000 and 5,000 jihadist militants.