While the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is stepping up its efforts to retake the vital gas fields in eastern Homs with the support of Russian airpower, the US-led coalition has increased its sorties against ISIS insurgents in the ancient city of Palmyra itself.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the coalition noted: “Near Palmyra, nine airstrikes destroyed 17 heavy equipment vehicles, 11 vehicles, four dump trucks, three front-end loaders, three VBIED’s and two tanks”.
This follows the alleged destruction of 14 ISIS tanks on Dec. 15 due to an intensive coalition air raid on Palmyra city. The armored vehicles are believed to have been captured by the Islamic State during the fall of the city a few days earlier.
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, a prominent coalition commander and spokesperson, on 13 December last year said that it was up to Moscow and Damascus to take back the ancient city of Palmyra, and that it was complicated to coordinate airstrikes with Russia.
The Islamic State recaptured Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on 11 December 2016 after driving out the SAA which temporarily liberated the city from ISIS following a protracted battle in March 2016.