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Wednesday, November 25

The noose tightens around Islamic State in Palmyra

I've been hesitating for weeks to mention this story, although news about the action has popped up in Syrian Army sitreps from time to time. But today things look hopeful enough that Sputnik has once again picked up on the action. And I can't resist passing along the next presumed target on the road to liberating Palmyra. 

It's touch and go, of course, and from the last Sputnik report weeks ago on the planned assault, the army is worried that IS has wired what remains of the ancient monuments, so they've been inching along very carefully....

The Noose Tightens: Syrian Army, Allies Hammer ISIL All Around Palmyra
10:14 - 25.11.2015
Sputnik

Elements of the Syrian Arab Army, National Defense Forces and Hezbollah, aided by Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba militia fighters, launched an assault against ISIL positions on al-Hayal mountain to the south of Palmyra, Iranian Fars News Agency (FNA) reports.

At the same time, Syrian military continued its advance along the Homs-Deir ez-Zor highway towards the western outskirts of the ancient city. FNA points out that their next target there will likely be a luxurious villa previously owned by the Qatari royal family, which is now being used by ISIL as its forward base of operations and as a training facility for the new recruits.

With these gains, and with Russian military aircraft poised to attack ISIL forces holding the eastern part of the city and the Palmyra Airbase, the Syrian army and its allies now stand ready to execute a three-pronged attack against the Islamist-occupied city.

The Islamic State has already moved a considerable number of troops, weapons and equipment to Palmyra in preparation for the inevitable battle, FNA adds.

The ancient city of Palmyra is a site of major archaeological importance and features in UNESCO's World Heritage list. The Islamic State militants who currently control the city shocked the world when they looted and destroyed a countless number of priceless historic sites in Palmyra, including its ancient temples of Bel and Baalshamin; it fell under the control of the jihadi militants in May.

[END REPORT]

I see Sputnik also has a report from two days ago: Syrian Army Liberates Two Christian Villages From the Clutches of ISIL
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