- A senior Russian military official says Syrian soldiers either killed or injured more than 1,000 members of the Daesh terrorist group during the recent victorious battle to retake Syria’s central city of Palmyra from the terror outfit.
Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, released the toll on Friday.
A day earlier, the Syrian army had said it had recaptured the city and driven the terrorists away with the help of Russian airpower for about a month and a half.
Syrian soldiers take positions as they advance to retake the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh in a previous operation on March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The Syrian forces also destroyed 19 tanks, 37 armored vehicles, 98 pickup trucks with heavy weapons mounted on them, and more than 100 automobiles during the operation, Rudskoy added.
Daesh first seized the 2,000-year-old city, also known in Arabic as Tadmur, in May 2015 and began looting and demolishing the UNESCO world heritage site’s monuments and temples. The Syrian army initially purged the city of the Takfiris in March 2016 but lost it back to them late that year.
Palmyra lies around 225 kilometers from Raqqah, which Daesh controls and has named as its so-called headquarters in Syria.
Reports on Saturday said the Syrian army was now engaged in mop-up operation to cleanse the city of remaining militants and explosive devices.
Russia, a political and military ally of Syria, has been aiding the Damascus government in the operations against militants in the Arab country.
Syrian forces, meanwhile, built on their gains in the eastern countryside of the northwestern city of Aleppo, where they liberated three more villages from the clutches of Takfiri terrorists, Syria’s Defense Ministry announced.
The ministry named the villages as Za’araya, al-Ra’oufiah, and al-Rowzah.
Aleppo fell back under government control late last year in the most momentous advance made by the army against militants since the onset of foreign-backed militancy in Syria in 2011.
The victory was followed by the establishment of a ceasefire over the city, which was later extended to the entire country. The agreement excludes Daesh and its fellow Takfiri group of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
Separately, it was reported that the army had last night made advances toward Deir Hafer Plains, northwest of Manbij, another northwestern city.
Standing before Palmyra’s historical amphitheatre after the liberation operation, Press TV’s correspondent Mohammad Ali detailed the situation on the ground.
“Now, the Syrian army is actually carrying out intense military operations on the outskirts and in the countryside of Palmyra in order to chase down Daesh terrorists who fled away just two days ago when the Syrian army entered the city,” Ali said.
Aided by airstrikes, the forces were now hunting down the Takfiris in the al-Salameh area, which is located to the east of the city, he added.