Minutes ago, contingents of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) reached the northern foothill of Jabal Hayyal southwest of Palmyra amid a bid to retake the ancient city.
This mountain is highly important as it overlooks Palmyra and sections of the M20-Highway. Government forces also captured an important site in the Eastern Bayarat area earlier today.
Tasked with expelling ISIS militants from the Hayyal mountain are the SAA’s 5th Legion, 18th Tank Division, Military Shield Forces, Al-Badia branch and elements of the National Defence Forces (NDF). Meanwhile, Russian helicopters are supporting the advance.
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) February 24, 2017
If the SAA was to fully secure Jabal Hayyal, Syrian government troops would be at the doorsteps of the Palmyra triangle.
ISIS recaptured Palmyra in December 2016 after between 4,000 and 5,000 jihadist militants stormed the city. However, many have since departed the front to defend collapsing areas elsewhere in the country.