It has been two months since the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has taken the offensive in the Homs Governorate’s eastern countryside; however, they have returned to this front with a vengeance and with a little help from the Russian Air Force, who can be seen patrolling the vast desert landscape that surrounds the Homs-Palmyra Highway.
On Thursday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 67th Brigade of the 18th Tank Division – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Sadad, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade), and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) of Sadad – began their assault at the eastern groves of Al-Bayarat, where they targeted the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) frontline defenses in order to regain control of the road leading to the ancient city of Palmyra.
The firefights between the Syrian Armed Forces and ISIS were ongoing all day, as the former was able to bypass the terrorist group’s defenses and establish control over parts of Al-Bayarat.
In addition to the battle for Palmyra, the National Defense Forces struck ISIS outside of the desert-town of Maheen, killing several enemy combatants and destroying two armored vehicles that were mounted with 23mm anti-aircraft machine guns.
While the Syrian Arab Army and their allies were busy combatting ISIS on the ground, the Russian Air Force’s SU-24 fighter jets took to the skies of Palmyra to in order launch several airstrikes on the terrorist group’s positions in this desert area; specifically, their main target was the highway ISIS uses to resupply their units in east Homs.
The city of Palmyra holds no strategic value due to its location in the middle of the Syrian Desert; however, the battle for this ancient holds sentimental value to the Syrian population, as its illustrious history is intertwined with their cultural achievements.