The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is on the march along the main road to Palmyra after capturing a number of villages and oil fields west of the ancient city over the past week.
At the moment, government troops are 15 kilometers from the Palmyra junction, also known as the Palmyra triangle, and around 21 kilometers from the historic city itself.
Spearheading this operation is the SAA’s 5th legion (Russian-trained Syrian volunteers), Military Shield Forces (militia tied to the Syrian Mukhabarat), Al-Badia branch (Interior Ministry’s security forces) and National Defence Forces (volunteer reservists, mostly locals) while the renewed Palmyra offensive is heavily supported by the Russian Air Force.
These combined government forces must now try to secure both flanks of the SAA salient and most importantly, capture Jabal Hayyal further south as this mountain overlooks any future army advances, effectively exposing the SAA as sitting ducks for ISIS attacks.
Should the SAA reach the Palmyra triangle, elite assault troops are expected to arrive on the front to reinforce the final government assault on Palmyra city itself.