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BEIRUT, December 16. /TASS/. The Syrian army command has sent reinforcements to Palmyra (240 kilometers from Damascus) in order to fight off terrorists west and southwest of the city, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. According to SANA, improved weather conditions allowed to deliver airstrikes on the militants’ convoys as well as the Islamic State members’ positions.
As a result, 70 militants were killed in the dam area, 13 off-roaders mounted with heavy machine guns were destroyed. In the Qasr al-Hayr area, the Syrian air force and artillery units killed another 46 terrorists and destroyed seven vehicles. The militants had tried to use car bombs to attack military checkpoints but the Syrian troops detected them in time to thwart the attacks and eliminate the insurgents.
The Syrian troops and militia had earlier regained control of a military airbase 50 kilometers west of Palmyra. The militants had been forced to retreat seven kilometers away from the airbase which is an important military stronghold. Had the terrorists captured the airbase, it would have created additional difficulties for the army struggling to liberate the ancient city.
The Syrian army command seeks to stop the militants’ advance towards the city of Al-Karyatein (110 kilometers from Damascus) and the eastern Qalamoun Mountains.
Terrorists recaptured Palmyra on December 11, after the Syrian government troops had retreated. The army and militia had succeeded in evacuating 80% of the residents before leaving the city.