Less than a week after the Syrian government claimed the defense of Palmyra was well in hand, the last of its forces have fled from the ancient oasis city, allowing ISIS to take over.
Palmyra’s value is primarily historical, and there is much fear for the antiquities left behind, though virtually the whole city was evacuated and most of the museum pieces relocated in the past week.
Also known as Tadmur, Palmyra is a city of some 50,000 in the Homs Province, and the loss of the city was seemingly inevitable after ISIS, earlier this week, took key nearby gas fields in their advance.
Between the losses in Homs to ISIS and the losses in Idlib to al-Qaeda, Syria’s government territory is shrinking fast. The loss of the Homs gas fields also risks their ability to maintain a stable power grid in their remaining territory.