ISIS militants, Palmyra. File photo
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QAMISHLI – Backed by a Russian air cover, Syrian army forces recaptured parts of the ancient Palmyra city in central Syria from the radial group of Islamic State (ISIS), local sources reported on Tuesday.
Speaking to ARA News in Homs, rights activist Mohammad Yousef said that the pro-regime army forces have stepped up attacks on ISIS headquarters in the western suburb of Palmyra, in the Syrian province of Homs, “killing and wounding dozens of ISIS militants”.
“The regime’s army, supported with Russian warplanes, has recaptured several neighborhoods in western Palmyra,” the local source reported.
Syrian army officials also confirmed the advance of their troops at the expense of ISIS in western Palmyra, emphasizing the Russian role in weakening the extremist group during the military operations in central Syria.
In the meantime, Syrian opposition activists accused the Assad regime of facilitating ISIS movements in a bid to hit the ranks of moderate rebels.
“Assad’s regime has earlier paved the way for the ISIS terror group to grow in central Syria in order to control the ancient city of Palmyra as well as weakening the rebel groups in the region,” Syrian political analyst Ziad Agha told ARA News.
He pointed out that as long as ISIS is controlling Palmyra, the regime’s fortifications remain at risk.
Agha expected that in the coming days, the regime would likely take over the entire historic city “because ISIS mission is over there and the jihadis must be transferred to other areas to fight moderate rebel groups”.
In May, ISIS took over the ancient city of Palmyra following fierce battles with Syrian army forces. The group has executed dozens of captured soldiers in the Roman amphitheater. It also destroyed ancient shrines and Roman monuments.
Reporting by: Mir Yaqoob
Source: ARA News