It has been almost one week since the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has taken full control of the historical city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in the eastern part of the Homs Governorate; however, the Syrian Armed Forces have yet to launch a counter-assault on the terrorist group that shocked the region with their resurgence after a five month hiatus.
This changed on Sunday, when hundreds of soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army’s “Suqour Al-Sahra” (Desert Hawks) Brigade and the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) began the arduous task of retaking the ancient city of Palmyra, amid the large presence of ISIS combatants that have been recently reinforced by their fighters from the Ar-Raqqa Governorate.
While the majority of firefights have been in favor of ISIS, the arrival of necessary reinforcements from the Syrian Armed Forces should provide a boost to the entrenched soldiers of the SAA’s 18th Tank Battalion that have been under attack at the Palmyra Ruins and the Palmyra Aqueduct over the last five days.
In addition to the hundreds of soldiers that have been concentrated at the Palmyra front, the Syrian Armed Forces have deployed a convoy of tanks and heavy weaponry to counter ISIS’ large quantity of armored vehicles that are mounted with a variety of anti-aircraft machine guns and doshkas.
Recently, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) has stepped up their airstrikes at the city of Palmyra and the towns of ‘Arak and Al-Sikhanah in the eastern part of the Homs Governorate; unfortunately, this has not deterred or forestalled the ISIS militants from steadily advancing across the vast deserts of eastern Syrian and western Iraq.
The biggest threat ISIS’ poses to the Syrian Government – at the moment – is the possible disruption of their power grids that are situated near theAl-Sha’ar Mountains, which are located north of Palmyra; if they are recaptured by ISIS, the Syrian Government will be dealt its biggest blow in this war.