Syrian Army Liberates Palmyra for the Second Time
March 2, 2017 (EIRNS)—After a blitz offensive with Russian air support yesterday, that brought troops to the heights overlooking the city and to the southwestern edge of the city itself, units of the Syrian Arab Army entered Palmyra today, liberating it for the second time after ISIS had captured it in December of 2016. Al Masdar News, citing military sources, reported early this morning that indications were that ISIS had largely withdrawn from the city overnight, but that Syrian troops had refrained from entering the city itself, because of the fear that ISIS insurgents had scattered booby traps and mines across it. According to a report in TASS, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin that the Syrian army had completed the operation to seize Palmyra. Al Masdar subsequently published video showing columns of Syrian troops and armored vehicles entering the city. Syrian combat engineers, trained by the same Russian sappers who cleared eastern Aleppo city after it was liberated, are now sweeping Palmyra for bombs left behind by ISIS.
The Syrian army General Command affirmed, in a statement reported by SANA, the importance of the liberation of Palmyra in conjunction with army victories in eastern Aleppo province. This achievement, the General Command said, confirms that the Syrian Arab Army, in collaboration with friends, is the only active force to fight terrorism and eradicate it, adding that the restoration of Tadmur (Palmyra) forms a basis to expand the military operations against ISIS on many axes and to tighten the grip around the terrorists and break off their supply routes. The Syrian army, the statement concluded,
"is determined to continue its operations against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and the other terrorist organizations until restoring security and stability to every inch of the homeland."