Homs – The Syrian Army repulsed an Islamic State (ISIS) offensive on Wednesday, driving the jihadists away from the T4 Military Airport. The extremist group had tried to storm the airbase earlier in the day, bombarding it with Grad rockets and mortar shells.
“Wednesday’s offensive was a renewed attempt by ISIS jihadists to capture the airbase,” reported Amro al-Hussein, a media activist in Homs. “However, the operation was foiled by the Syrian Army after it received air support.”
Hussein told ARA News that while the fighting was particularly brutal, “army forces were eventually able to repel the attack, forcing ISIS militants to retreat towards Palmyra.”
Located in the Homs’ eastern countryside, the T4 Airport is a critical security installation, providing regime forces with close air support.
ISIS militants stormed into the T4 Airbase on December 12, after seizing security checkpoints in the nearby Mashtal and Qasr al-Hir Districts. After that assault stalled, ISIS imposed a partial siege on the airbase.
The Fall of Palmyra
The Islamic State recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra on December 11. Military sources confirmed the rout, reporting that the army had been forced to withdraw under fire.
“The army withdrew after the clashes reached the city center and it became impossible for them to push ISIS back,” local media activist Abas al-Omar told ARA News.
Regime forces were obliged to evacuate their headquarters in Palmyra and most of their remaining positions in the Syrian Desert, heading westward toward Doua District and the T4 Military Airport.
Russia had supported the Syrian Army in Palmyra, with airstrikes and logistical support but their efforts were apparently insufficient to save the city.
ISIS first took over Palmyra in May 2015, following a protracted battle with regime forces. The Islamic State’s occupation was exceptionally harsh, even by the standards of Syria’s 5-year-long conflict.
Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa | Source: ARA News
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