Syrian Forces Take Full Control of Daesh-Held Town Near Palmyra
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Syrian army and allied forces on Sunday took full control of the central town of al-Qaryatayn, which was under the control of Daesh (ISIL) group, as part of Damascus’s fight against Takfiri militants.
Syrian troops, backed by Russian airstrikes, forced their way into al-Qaryatain on Sunday from a number of directions.
Syrian forces are clearing the area from Daesh-planted explosives, Press TV reported.
Local sources said that Daesh militants fled from the town to nearby Khaneezir and Hafir regions.
Al-Qaryatayn was the last major stronghold of Daesh in the east of Homs province. Syrian troops will reportedly continue their mop-up operations against Takfiri militants towards the city of Deir Ezzor, also located in eastern Homs, and Raqqa province, northeast of Homs.
Al-Qaryatain is located 100 km west of the ancient city of Palmyra that was recently liberated from Daesh control by Syrian army. Al-Qaryatain had been under the Takfiri group’s control since last August.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the entrance of Syrian forces into the town and said that fighting continued between both sides.
“Practically speaking, the town can be said to have fallen militarily, because the regime controls the surrounding hills," said Rami Abdurrahman, the group’s director.
The group also noted that Russian and Syrian planes carried out 40 airstrikes near al-Qaryatain.
The Syrian soldiers have now been clearing bombs and landmines planted in Palmyra by Daesh. They have so far detonated 500 mines in Palmyra’s urban areas while the number of those undiscovered remains unknown.
Syria has been gripped by militancy since 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total.