A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Syria: Regime Forces Say They are on Verge of Retaking Palmyra

Syrian state media are reporting that Syrian Army elite troops and their Hizbullah allies are on the verge of recapturing the city of Tadmur and the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

Tadmur/Palmyra have been controlled by the Islamic State since May 2015, and their capture of Palmyra also cut the regime's supply line to the last regime garrison in eastern Syria, at Deir al-Zor. The subsequent destruction of ancient temples at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Palmyra by ISIS provoked international outrage.

Deir al-Zor has been besieged by ISIS and resupplied only by Syrian and Russian air drops, but the fall of Palmyra could open the possibility of a rapid advance to open the road; the distance is 200 kilometers across generally open desert.

According to pro-regime reports, the attacking force of the Syrian Army includes the Tiger Forces and Desert Hawks units of Special forces, and Syrian Marines and Hizbullah allies. They claim to have surrounded Palmyra on the south and west and to have cut ISIS' line of supply and communication, including the Deir al-Zor road.


David Mack said...

The U.S. and Russia have some different objectives in Syria, but there are also big overlaps. The essence of diplomacy is to find those overlaps and build on them. Kerry and Lavrov can do it. The unreformed cold warriors out there, including the Washington Post editorial board, will hate it, as will the democracy and human rights activists, but this is not Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

It would be worthwhile to apply the wise words of Ambassador Mack to Ukraine.