Syrian Troops Evacuate 80% of Palmyra’s Residents

Syrian soldiers in PalmyraSyrian soldiers in Palmyra

The Syrian Army and militias have retreated from the central quarters of Palmyra to positions in the city’s suburbs, Al Ekhbariya television channel said on Sunday citing Homs Province Governor Talal al-Barazi.

He said it was the decision of the Syrian Army command, noting that IS terrorists had attacked Palmyra massively from several directions.

Barazi was quoted by TASS News Agency as saying that Syrian troops are offering fierce resistance and inflicting heavy losses on IS militants.

He later told Sham FM radio that Syrian troops have evacuated 80% of residents from the city before retreating from it.

The official said the top command of the Syrian Army had taken a decision to withdraw troops from the city in the face of the numerically stronger enemy force. “But this was done only after the evacuation of civilians,” he indicated.

At the same time, Barazi voiced concern over the plight of the residents remaining in Palmyra, as the self-styled Islamic State terrorists might use them as a shield.

He also said the regular Syrian troops and the volunteer units were conducting fierce combat actions against the IS formations that had seized Palmyra and there was no threat of an IS breakthrough toward the city of Homs.

Barazi also voiced the confidence Palmyra would be liberated from the IS hordes again very shortly.

According to his information, the IS had moved reinforcements (of about 5,000 militants) to Palmyra from Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and neighboring Iraq.

“In spite of numeric superiority, the Syrian servicemen are fighting heroically and the terrorists are suffering big losses,” Barazi said. “The Air Force continues attacking their positions, too.”

IS units attacked Palmyra, which is located 240 km from Damascus, on Friday. The Armed Forces command dispatched reinforcements from Homs.

Apart from the city, the militants tried to seize oil wells and an airbase located nearby.

Syrian troops liberated Palmyra from the IS the previous time on March 27 with the assistance of the Russian Aerospace Force.

Later, Russian Army engineers took part in the removal of mines from the city’s residential districts and from the unique monuments of antiquity the city is famous for.


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