Syria Recaptures Palmyra From ISIS for a Second Time

Syria Recaptures Palmyra From ISIS for a Second Time | ISIS fighters mostly withdraw amid heavy bombardment

The fighting didn’t last particularly long, and amid Syrian military bombardment, ISIS fighters began to withdraw en masse from the city of Palmyra, and Syria has announced that they have recaptured the city outright, for the second time in less than a year.

Syrian forces had expelled ISIS and gained control over Palmyra back in late March of 2016, and held it through most of the year, though ISIS forces eventually made their way back to the city and took it back for themselves in December. At the time, Syria’s defense was said to be limited, with more forces committed to the Aleppo battle.

Other rebel factions downplayed the significance of this most recent change of hands for Palmyra, saying it was “a game” being played by the Assad government to try to present themselves as being successful against ISIS.

While Palmyra/Tadmur is primarily an archaeological city, control of the area is of some strategic value, both because of nearby gas fields and because of its location along a key highway running through western Syria. The highway is the primary route through Deir Ezzor Province, which is ISIS’s main remaining holding.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Bianca

    Is it really that important what other militant groups think of Syria decapturing Palmyra? These other groups ALL demand that Syria becomes a Sunni caliphate under Sharia law as practiced by Mecca. This is true of Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra as well. And all other Salafi cults no matter their name. WE HAVE NO BUSINESS ADVOCATING a religion based state — especially these groups that claim the mantra of Islam in fact are cults.
    Syrian Army is defending SECULAR state that is not under legal jurisdiction of Mecca. And we keep on shedding fears over their rebellion – and really worry about what they think. It is amazing that nobody asked Saudi Arabia to denounce these groups from Mecca, and insure that all these Islamic griups are merely cults, not Islam. Not denouncing them makes a mockery of our effort to not call them Islamic, as they supposedly are not representing Islam.