On May 21st of this year, a dark cloud descended over the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra (Tadmur) after the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) raised the flag of Tawhid (ISIS’ flag) over the downtown municipal building, declaring victory over the Syrian Armed Forces that were protecting this historical gem in the deserts of the Homs Governorate.
For several months, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division and the National Defense Forces (NDF) – primarily Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) – have attempted to recapture this city from ISIS; however, they have repeatedly come up short, as the aforementioned terrorist group was able to withstand the onslaught.
With the disappointment of their last offensive hanging in balance, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade and the National Defense Forces have returned to this desert front in the Homs Governorate with a vengeance, capturing several sites around this historical city, while also pressing deeper into the Palmyra countryside than their previous assault in July.
On Saturday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67 Brigade and the National Defense Forces approached the “Qal’at Tadmur” (Palmyra Castle) after a violent battle with ISIS for several days; this latest advance left them within 400 meters of the castle and less than 2km away from the city’s gates.
While the Syrian Armed Forces approach the gates of Palmyra, they are forced to remain alert as ISIS has issued several warnings in regards to their intentions to demolish a number of archeological sites if the Syrian Army comes any further.
A final assault by the Syrian Armed Forces is in the works; however, the timing of this offensive is still unknown.