DAMASCUS, Feb. 13 (Press Shia) – The Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, is advancing on the ancient city of Palmyra occupied by ISIL. The city is less than 20 kilometers away, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday..
“Syrian government troops, backed by Russian air support, continue to advance in the direction of Palmyra; less than 20 kilometers are left. The Russian Aerospace Forces carried out more than 90 sorties over the last week,” the ministry said.
The Syrian Army has destroyed more than 180 militant targets.
“The Syrian government troops destroyed over 180 militant targets, including over 60 strongholds, 15 depots with ammunition and vehicles, 43 armored vehicles as well as jeeps with heavy machine-guns. Terrorists lost over 200 people,” the statement added.
Some 805 square kilometers have been liberated from terrorists in the province of Homs. Since February 7, the Syrian Army has been controlling 22 square kilometers in the vicinity of Palmyra, and has liberated a few inhabited localities, the ministry concluded.
ISIL. seized Palmyra, which was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire, in May 2015. Terrorists destroyed a number of historic sights designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel. Jihadists also looted the national museum and the famous Palmyra’s necropolis.
Less than a year after that the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces managed to liberate Palmyra. Russian specialists demined the historic center as well as residential areas of the city. Russian historians and renovators visited Palmyra in early July 2016 and prepared a report assessing the condition of the damaged sites and costs of the renovation works. However, in December 2016, the city was retaken by terrorists.
Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the ISIL offensive on Palmyra. According to the Russian leader, the situation in Palmyra was a result of discordant actions of different players in Syria.