ISIS militants withdraw from Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra


ISIS militants, Palmyra. File photo

ARA News

Islamic State’s (ISIS) militant fighters have withdrawn from major parts of Palmyra city, in Syria’s central Homs Governorate, local sources reported on Thursday.

The radical group withdrew from central Palmyra, heading to its eastern suburb, after heavy clashes with Syrian Army forces.

“The Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions helped the Syrian regime troops to advance against the jihadi group,” local media activist Ahmad al-Hussein told ARA News.

“ISIS militants started to withdraw in the morning on Thursday, evacuating most of the city’s neighbourhoods,” the source reported.

However, the Syrian Army forces have not entered the evacuated areas yet, for fear of mines and improvised explosive devices left behind by ISIS.

ISIS first took over Palmyra in May 2015, following a protracted battle with regime forces. The Islamic State’s occupation was exceptionally brutal, even by the standards of Syria’s 6-year-long conflict.

On December 11, 2016, the ISIS hardline group recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra in Homs Governorate, after forcing the Syrian army to withdraw under heavy bombardment.

Russia had supported the Syrian Army in Palmyra, with airstrikes and logistical support but their efforts were apparently insufficient to save the city at the time.

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News 

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