For months, ISIS militants and soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army have clashed on the western outskirts of Tadmur (Palmyra); currently, the frontline seems to have reached a relatively static stalemate at the villages of Al-Bayarat and Al-Dawa, located less than 10 kilometers from the ancient city of Palmyra.
However, government troops have broken the siege of Sadad and recaptured the town of Mahin while pushing towards the ISIS stronghold of Qaryayan. For the moment, the Syrian Arab Army has cut off ISIS supply routes at Qaryatyan from the northern, western and eastern entrances whilst also capturing several hills surrounding the town. Nevertheless, some minor dirt roads at its eastern district still connect Qaryatyan with Islamic State mainland.
Strategically, the Syrian Arab Army must widen the dangerously narrow strip of land which it controls along M3-highway (Homs-Palmyra road) as to deter ISIS militants from launching a surprise offensive on Tiyas Airbase. Furthermore, if government troops were to capture Qaryatyan it will enable a major push into the oil-rich eastern deserts of Syria.