SYRIAN ARMY’S RE-SEIZURE OF PALMYRA PUNCHES DAESH
CAIRO, Egypt, Mar 27 – Raging battles and air strikes have helped the Syrian army recapture Palmyra, taken by the Daesh for the past 10 months.
As the notorious terrorist group withdrew, the Syrian government forces entered the millennia-old city on Friday, after a broad offensive, launched two days ago.
On Wednesday, the Syrian forces had approached the outskirts of Palmyra, only 850 km away, following days of intense battles in the eastern countryside of the central province of Homs.
Following “qualitative” battles against the Daesh in the vicinity of Palmyra, the city has become encircled, Syria’s state-run TV reported.
The battles burst out at the southern and south-western outskirts of Palmyra between the Syrian forces and the Daesh militants.
Due to the geographical nature of the Syrian desert, the army adopted special tactics, such as camouflaged armoured vehicles and motorcycles, under the air cover of the Russian air force, the TV said.
Russian helicopters targeted the armoured vehicles of the Daesh, while the Syrian army heavily shelled the Daesh positions inside Palmyra, which forced the terror militants to start moving their families toward the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, much of which under the Daesh control.
The operation came just a day after the Syrian forces captured all hills and highlands surrounding Palmyra.
It secured the Syrian army’s path to the western entrance of Palmyra.
On Thursday, the army started entering the northern district of Palmyra, after bomb squads dismantled mines and explosive devices planted by the Daesh.
The Syrian army reached the city entrance, just hours after seizing the nearby al-Hayaleh mountain, said the TV, adding that, the infantry forces stormed the Daesh fortifications there.
On Friday, the militants withdrew from the ancient citadel of Palmyra, where they raised their flag after overrunning the city last May, state news agency SANA reported.
The militants retreat from the citadel towards the al-Amiriyeh district in the oasis city, after trying to bring in reinforcements from its strongholds in the northern province of al-Raqqa, but the Syrian army punched the backup forces of the Daesh.
The citadel was then fully captured by the army, backed by Russian air campaign and Shiite fighters, including those with Hezbollah.
The Syrian forces combed the areas between the hills and the citadel, and cut off the Daesh supply line between Palmyra and the town of Qaryatain in the Homs countryside.
Later on Friday, the Syrian military forces captured the airbase of Palmyra in a blitz offensive.
Located in central Syria, Palmyra displays the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
The Daesh group had occupied Palmyra since last May, and destroyed the city’s military prison and several Islamic tombs and monuments.
It also carried out public executions of soldiers and people accused of working for the government.
Syria has many prehistoric, Greek, Byzantine and Islamic heritages. Before the crisis, Syria had attracted many multinational archaeological missions, coming to search for new clues of historical facts on the development of civilizations