BEIRUT, December 14. /TASS/. The Syrian army’s command has sent reinforcements to Palmyra, which made it possible to ward off the offensive staged by the Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) on a military airfield near the city, the Al-Watan newspaper reported on Wednesday. According to the newspaper, the Syrian army and militia units have retaken the positions of an artillery battalion close to this airbase located 50 kilometers west of Palmyra.
"The first wave of IS attacks has been repelled. The enemy has been pushed 7 kilometers east of the airfield. Terrorists’ attempts to block the highway leading to the airbase from Ferkales have failed," an officer involved in the operation told the paper.
The airfield near Palmyra is the government forces’ major outpost. Its seizure by terrorists would have made the task of recapturing the city much more difficult.
The Syrian Air Force provides air support for the ground forces by carrying out strikes against the enemy in the southwest, towards Al-Qaryatayn, a city located in Syria’s desert oasis.
The terrorists seized Palmyra’s central area on Sunday following a retreat by government forces. Prior to that, the army and militia units were able to evacuate 80% of the population.
Palmyra located some 240 kilometers from Damascus was liberated from terrorists by the Syrian army with the assistance from Russia’s Aerospace Forces on March 27. Russian sappers were later involved in efforts to demine the city and the ancient monuments located in the vicinity.