The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) stormed the ancient city of Palmyra three months ago with a rather large force of almost 1,800 armed combatants; however, since then, they have redeployed their fighters to other fronts, leaving them susceptible to a counter-assault from the Syrian Armed Forces in the Homs Governorate’s eastern countryside.
As ISIS spreads itself too thin around Syria, the Syrian Arab Army has taken advantage of this at Palmyra, capturing over 150 square kilometers of territory that is spread across Jabal Al-Hayr to the west and the Ancient Quarries of Palmyra to the east.
Recently, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah – recaptured the Palmyra Driving School and the Palmyra Castle (Qal’at Tadmur) after fierce clashes with the terrorist group in the western Palmyra countryside.
Following the capture of the Palmyra Driving School and Castle, the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah advanced to the western outskirts of the city, leaving less than 3 km of territory between themselves and Jabal Qasioun (Qasioun Mountains).
To the north of Palmyra, the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” – alongside Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) are advancing south of the Ancient Quarries; this has left only 2 kilometers of territory between the Syrian Armed Forces and the village of Al-‘Amariyah in northern Palmyra.
ISIS attempted to fight their way out of this siege on Tuesday; however, their attempt was relatively unsuccessful at the groves of Al-Bayarat and the Palmyra Driving School.
How much longer can ISIS hold out? This answer is contingent on their willingness to dedicate human resources to this desert front.