According the the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), ISIS terrorists managed to enter the ancient City of Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs province on Sunday following violent clashes with the Syrian Armed Forces.
The terrorists advanced with an army of over 4,000 militants, says the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation. The bulk of of the ISIS fighters are believed to have come from Mosul, Iraq, where the US-led coalition has been battling Daesh since October, while allowing thousands of fighters to flee unharmed into neighboring Syria.
If successful, this will be the second time ISIS takes control of Palmyra.
Initially, the city had fallen to the terrorists in May of 2015. A year later it was liberated thanks to a joint effort of the Syrian Army and the Russian Aerospace Forces. The liberation was followed by a Russian ground operation to de-mine the city, and a grandiose concert held by maestro Valery Gergiev in the city’s Roman theater, a UNESCO world heritage site where just months earlier gruesome executions were carried out by the terrorists.
According to Sputnik, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov said on Monday that Moscow will do all that it can to make sure terrorists don’t return to the Syrian city of Palmyra.
“We consider the liberation of Palmyra to be a very important result of our joint actions. Obviously, we will do everything to prevent terrorists from returning to these areas,” he said.
On Sunday, local sources reported that the Syrian Army was still fighting Daesh in city suburbs after residents had been evacuated. The governor of the Homs Province said the Syrian Army was trying to regain control of the city.
Clearly, Russia will not stay idly and watch as the city it worked so hard to liberate and showcase to the world as a highlight victory of civilization over the forces of evil, falls back into the hands of ISIS.
Thus, as the battle for Aleppo draws to a victorious finish, it will not be a surprise if in the course of the following days or weeks, Russia will redeploy its sea and air capabilities for an all out offensive against terrorist targets in and around Palmyra.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.