Earlier today, Major General Suheil al-Hassan, commander-in-chief of the Tiger Forces, was officially deployed to the Palmyra frontline after carrying out two succesful offensives against ISIS at Kuweiris Airbase and along the Ithriya-Khanasser supply route to Aleppo city. According to intel delivered to al-Masdar exclusively, General Suheil Al-Hassan brought with him the ‘shock troops’ of the Tiger Forces and the Suqur al-Sahara Brigade (Desert Falcons).
Both these units are specialized in offensive warfare and outflanking ambushes; thus, their redeployment hints at the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) intentions to recapture the strategic city of Palmyra. This desert city holds several historical monuments which are listed at UNESCO’s World Heritage; however, Palmyra (often refered to as Tadmur) was captured by ISIS in March of last year and has remained under the group’s control ever since.
Currently, government troops are some 10 kilometers west of Palmyra as ISIS fighters and SAA soldiers are fighting to capture the disputed village of Al-Dawah. However, unless ISIS fighters are able to call in reinforcements from the Islamic State motherland, the Syrian Arab Army will likely capture the city of Palmyra before long. Nevertheless, a costly battle to come with many casualties on both sides seems inevitable at this point.
Palmyra is regarded by many as the ‘beating heart of Syria’ as it lies in the centre of the country. Also, if government forces are able to capture Palmyra, this will be the last major hurdle before they can push towards their besieged comrades inside Deir Ezzor city. To do so, the Syrian Army must carry on eastwards along the M7-Highway which lies in the remote deserts of Syria and remains under complete ISIS control for now.