Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Syrian army and militias pushed the terrorists more than 20 kilometers from Palmyra. The terrorists, while retreating, set fire to a huge gas field. The fire was very strong. Nearby there is a processing plant. For this, as for the field itself, fierce fighting was going on already in February.
In Palmyra itself there is mine clearing, the first restoration work, and talk about how the city was liberated.
The Syrian army advanced on Palmyra in three directions simultaneously. The preparation of the operation took more than a month. Intelligence found out where the weak spot was in the defense of the fighters. They hit where the terrorists least expected it.
“The terrorists hoped that we would attack from the North. There they had protected borders. But we outsmarted them and hit from the South, from the desert. They tried to resist, but soon realized that it was useless,” said the field commander of the Syrian Army, Sheikh Akhmad.
The operation to liberate the historical part of the city took less than a day. When the terrorists left the ancient citadel — the highest point in Palmyra, the city’s fate was decided.
“We won thanks to Russian aviation. Your pilots very precisely attacked the positions of militants. We took all the strategic heights around, and then quelled the resistance of groups that spread out through the city,” said the commander of the “Desert Commandos” Suleiman al-Shwakh.
Syrian soldiers went to Palmyra with red storm banners. With traces of bullets and shrapnel, they will reside in one of the city’s museums.
“We purposefully drew the star, hammer, and sickle so that it resembled the flag of victory with which your soldiers stormed the Reichstag in 1945. And we handed over these banners to the best fighters, and one of them died hoisting it on the citadel,” describes the field commander of the Syrian army Salmir Suleiman.
“I would like to commend the actions of your aerospace forces, which deprived the enemy of the possibility to maneuver and to supply reserves in time, the actions of the units of the special operation forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which conducted reconnaissance and struck the most important objects. And, of course, it’s impossible not to dwell on the unprecedented courage and dedication of ordinary Syrian soldiers, officers, and fighters of people’s militia units,” said the commander of Russian troops in Syria Andrey Kartapolov.
According to intelligence, the militants brought to Palmyra tons of explosives. They managed to blow up several historical monuments. Here is all that remained of the arch that graced the stage of the Roman amphitheatre. The terrorists blew it up a month ago, the same fate was waiting for the amphitheatre. Only the rapid advance of the Syrian army foiled the plans of the militants.
The militants mined most of the historical monuments in Palmyra, but didn’t have time to detonate them. This area has not yet been examined by sappers, that’s why it’s possible to move around very carefully as under feet there may be either a mine or a tripwire.
Now there are a lot of people in the amphitheatre. Here the journalists of leading Syrian channels are working. Locals come to see the ancient city liberated from the terrorists. Within its walls music sounds today – a student ensemble came from Homs to give a concert in Palmyra.
“We are here to show that life goes on. We are very happy that Palmyra is again ours. I remember how the orchestra of Valery Gergiev performed here. It was unforgettable,” said Shazilya al-Masri.
Syrian troops drove the terrorists away from the city, and all strategic heights in the area are under the control of government forces. The Syrian headquarters say that it created a base for an offensive on militants in the Eastern part of the province of Homs and in the direction of the city of Deir ez-Zor, where for several years, almost completely surrounded, the garrison of the Syrian army keeps the defence.
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