Thursday, March 02, 2017

Is Palmyra being retaken by Syria?

PALMYRA WATCH: Palmyra: Syrian forces 'enter' IS-held town (BBC).
Syrian government forces have entered the ancient city of Palmyra, pushing back militants from so-called Islamic State (IS), activists say.

The troops and their allies, backed by Russian air strikes, have reportedly seized part of a neighbourhood in the west of the city.

According to Google, this report is from 8 hours ago. In just the last couple of hours there have been further reports that ISIS has withdrawn from most of the city and is on the run. For example, from Tass: Syrian troops enter Palmyra, militants retreating in panic — media. The Syrian Army is attacking the retreating Islamic State terrorists from air as well..
Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen reports that the Islamic State members have left most parts of Palmyra, planting mines in buildings and on roads. The Syrian army and militiamen have begun to clear the mines.

The Syrian air force is attacking the retreating Islamic State groups from air. As a result, a militant convoy heading to Al-Sukhnah has been eliminated.
The BBC reports that the Russians are providing air support to the offensive, which doesn't surprise me. I predicted back in December, when ISIS retook Palmyra, that Russia would not let the matter go unanswered for long.

I hope the retaking of Palmyra goes smoothly and with as little harm as possible to the beleaguered civilians there. I have no particular love for the Syrian side, but the site is better off in their hands than in those of ISIS.

And, please, don't lose it again.

Background on Palmyra is here and links.