Thursday, March 24, 2016

Will Palmyra be retaken this time?

PALMYRA WATCH: Syria regime forces at entrance to Islamic State-held Palmyra. Jihadists using suicide bombers in effort to halt advance of pro-government troops (AFP). We've heard this before, back in July. It came to nothing and much additional horror and destruction has been visited on Palmyra since. But the Syrian forces were not backed by the Russians then, so this time the result may be different. I hope the civilians in the area are able to remain safe and that the surviving ruins are not damaged further.

In case the city actually is retaken this time, this article is relevant: Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky: Palmyra must be restored (ELENA YAKOVLEVA, ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA/ Russian Beyond the Headlines).
According to the Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riad Haddad, the Syrian army is approaching the ancient ruins of Palmyra, aided by the remaining contingent of Russia’s aerospace forces. If the ancient city is liberated, will it be possible to restore it? Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of St. Petersburg's Hermitage museum, shared his thoughts on the matter.
If the result of our operation is the liberation of Palmyra, we will never find anything more beautiful in the annals of the whole of Russian history in the Middle East and the Holy Land. Pardon me for sounding solemn, but it's true.
Background here and links.