Moscow, SANA-Russian Defense Ministry affirmed on Monday that ISIS terrorists exploited the suspension of the operations of the US-led coalition in Raqqa to attack Tadmur (Palmyra) city.
In a press conference, the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that ISIS organization attacked the city ahead from the North, the East and the South, adding that around 5,000 terrorists participated in the attack who came to Syria from the Iraqi city of al-Mosul, facing no hindrances on their way.
Konashenkov pointed out that around 4000 terrorists along with tanks, armored vehicles, Jeep cars equipped with heavy machineguns have moved quickly from the countryside of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor to the area surrounding Tadmur, adding that there had not been a group that large near Palmyra until last Thursday.
“Apparently, the ISIS militants had gathered around Palmyra, being very certain that combat operations in Raqqa would not resume,” he said.
He said that the Syrian army rolled back two first heavy attacks by terrorists with support from Russian Aerospace Forces, adding that the Russian planes dealt 64 air strikes against the ISIS terrorists’ positions and their reinforcement that were bound for terrorists on the outskirts of Tadmur (Palmyra) city.
He recalled that as a result, 11 tanks and armored vehicles, 31 trucks armed with heavy machineguns and more than 300 militants were killed.
“As dusk set in, though, Islamic State militants used suicide car bombs to break through the Syrian army’s defenses and despite heavy losses managed to gain a foothold on the outskirts of the city,” he said.
Konashenkov noted that Russia’s Aerospace Forces did not and will not carry out airstrikes against Palmyra’s residential areas, adding that the terrorists have stepped up their offensive taking advantage of the moment.
Konashenkov said that the Syrian authorities are doing everything to free the city of Palmyra from militants as soon as possible.
“Under the current circumstances, the Syrian troops are holding their positions near the city after having evacuated the residents of Palmyra and vacating the city,” Konashenkov said.
“The authorities of the country are doing everything to liberate the city as soon as possible,” he added.