Following the capture of Jabbal Hayyal yesterday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) proceeded to secure two important advances on the outskirts of Palmyra.
Heavily supported by Russian airstrikes, the SAA pushed onwards from Jabbal Hayyal and secured the adjecent ‘hill 900’ point southwest of Palmyra on Monday.
Government troops also advanced on the main road to Palmyra, coming within 3 kilometers of the Palmyra Triangle (Palmyra junction).
Meanwhile, the SAA capitalized on taking control of the highest point in the region by capturing the village of Al-Tamtheel directly west of Palmyra, thereby coming in direct contact with the emparative Al-Tar mountain that overlooks the northwestern part of the ancient city.
The coming battle for Palmyra is conditioned on capturing the mountains that overlook the ancient city; once all nearby high points are seized by government forces, Palmyra’s recapture will be inevitable.
On the oil-rich front northeast of the Tiyas (T4) Airbase, the SAA are also on the verge of storming several gas fields still under ISIS control.
Russian warplanes conducted numerous air raids on Huwaysis, Jahhar oil field, Jazal gas field, Al-Mahr field while Syrian troops are on standby to attack these heavily mined sites.
Given the current rate of advance, the SAA could easily retake Palmyra within a week or so.
Leading the offensive is the Russian-trained 5th Legion, the 18th Tank Division, Military Shield Forces, Al-Badia branch, Shaitat tribesmen alongside the National Defence Forces.
ISIS retook Palmyra in December, 2016 following a blitz offensive that involved between 4,000 and 5,000 jihadist militants.