Comeback: ISIL retakes oil and gas field, ancient city of Palmyra, Syria

by WorldTribune Staff, December 12, 2016

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) regained full control of Palmyra on Dec. 11 after Syrian forces pulled out of the ancient city, a report said.

A still image taken from a video released by Islamic State-affiliated Amaq news agency, said to be in Palmyra, on December 11, 2016, purports to show Islamic State fighters in front of silos on fire and said to have been taken over by them. /Handout via Reuters
Video grab from ISIL’s Amaq news agency, said to show ISIL fighters Palmyra on Dec. 11. /Handout via Reuters

“Despite the ongoing (Russian) air raids, ISIL retook all of Palmyra after the Syrian army withdrew south of the city,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

ISIL launched a blitz attack, seizing nearby oil and gas fields and northern neighborhoods in Palmyra before capturing the famed citadel to the city’s west, the Observatory said.

The ISIL-linked Amaq news agency also reported that the terror group had regained “full control” of the city on Dec. 11 after taking the citadel, which overlooks Palmyra from a strategic hilltop.

Russian airstrikes reportedly killed hundreds of ISIL jihadists and forced others to withdraw, but the group still managed to recapture the city, the Observatory said.

Russia’s defense ministry said some 5,000 ISIL fighters took part in the offensive.

“During the night, ISIL fighters deployed cars stuffed with explosives and suicide-bombers to break through the Syrian army’s defenses and managed to dig in in Palmyra’s outskirts,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

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