Between the 2 and the 3 March, Palmira returned to the Syrian Armed Forces ahead of schedule. The hasty retreat of the Islamic State terrorists left behind destruction and desolation. The first videos sent from the field confirm the partial destruction of the Amphitheater and extensive damage to the entire archaeological heritage of the area. The urban center, already almost totally uninhabited, where possible, appears even more disfigured than two months ago.
In the general devastation Syrian soldiers, assisted by Russian specialists, continue the work of neutralization of explosive devices already begun before the final offensive in the areas west of the city. As a year ago, when jihadists were driven out of Palmyra for the first time, it is feared that the bulk of the IEDs still ready to jump have been placed right in the archaeological areas to inflict as much damage as possible.
In these hours, the 18 tank offensivea Armored Division and the 5a Syrian legion quickly continues east of the city to recover the surrounding hills still in the hands of fleeing terrorists. Unconfirmed sources speak of more than 1000 ISIS militiamen who fell in the course of the Syrian offensive.
Important role in the clashes would also have had the Russian special forces, flanked by the so-called ISIS Hunters, Syrian elite formation trained in the Latakia region to consolidate positions around the liberated strategic infrastructure of the Palmyra area, such as gas wells and the Tiyas air base.
In this regard for Damascus (and Moscow) it is imperative to avoid repeating the errors of undervaluation that led to the return of the Islamic State to Palmyra in December 2016. To the ugly figure followed fierce polemics.
Although the fate of the Caliphate in Syria now seems to be marked, there are still thousands of militiamen who move with discreet coordination between Raqqa and the front of Mosul in Iraq.