Conflicts in Middle East Backed by Russian aircraft, Assad forces advance towards Palmyra

Backed by Russian aircraft, Assad forces advance towards Palmyra

houses and buildings destroyed by airstrikes in Syria.

Forces loyal to the regime of Bashar Al-Assad have recaptured parts of the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria from Daesh, reported on Tuesday. Assad’s troops were given air cover by Russia, revealed the Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman.

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Speaking to AFP, he said that “Russian helicopters and jets, likely to be Russian also, targeted Daesh bases around Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs.” The regime forces were thus able to get within 4km of the city.

The battle to retake Palmyra started last week and the Syrian regime forces have been making serious gains of territory, in large part due to the air cover provided by Russia. According to Abdul-Rahman, this is a “decisive” battle for the regime because it opens the door to recapturing Al-Badiyeh neighbourhood, which leads to the Syria-Iraq border to the east.

Sources in the field said that the regime now controls a hill to the west of Palmyra after “severe clashes” with Daesh fighters. The Russian air force and navy again gave the Syrian troops cover.

The advances were made just one day after Russia announced the withdrawal of most of its forces from Syria, saying that it has “achieved” the aims of its mission. However, military sources reiterated that Moscow is going to continue to attack “terrorist targets” in Syria from its military base in Latakia.