Beirut, March 3: Syrian troops backed by Russian jets on Thursday finally recaptured the historic city of Palmyra from the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization Islamic State. Notably, the Syrian army announced in a statement read on state television evening that its forces were in complete control of Palmyra after a push on the town in recent days that saw Islamic State defenses rapidly collapse.
The victory for Syrian troops came nearly three months after the Islamic State marched back into the town in a surprise assault that appeared to have taken the Syrian army unawares. The fight to retake Palmyra, a world heritage site, had been long and intense, with the retreating Isis fighters laying an extensive network of mines and booby traps throughout the famed Roman ruins that were once one of Syria’s pre-eminent tourist attractions.
However, Palmyra city is extensively damaged during the terror group’s first occupation and that damage is thought to have increased since December. Meanwhile, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor also said the army and Iranian-backed militia advanced inside Palmyra on Thursday as ISIS withdrew completely.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, congratulated loyalist troops on the seizure. Moscow’s elite military units had been on the ground when Palmyra was recaptured from Isis for the first time last March and were again present over the past month.
In recent weeks, Syrian troops have attacked Turkish-backed rebels fighting Isis near al-Bab and reclaimed the city. Earlier, government forces also recaptured several big cities like Mosul, Manbji, Aleppo etc. On the other side, it is a big blow for Islamic State as they are continuously their hold from one more Syrian city.
Importantly, ISIS has lost control over several cities and are on the back foot. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of Islamic Sates terrorist organization have already admitted his defeat in Iraq. Earlier this month, unconfirmed news claimed that Baghdadi, whose exact whereabouts remained unknown for long, had been seriously wounded when airstrikes targeted a senior leadership meeting he chaired near the borders with Syria.