Syrian soldiers burn the flag of ISIL torn down from Palmyra castle © RIA Novosti / Mikhail Alaeddin
Soldiers of the Syrian army tore down the flag of ISIL (Organization banned in Russia) from the hill on which the ancient Palmyra castle stands, RIA Novosti reporter on the ground informs.
The soldiers are not yet able to rise the Syrian flag over the citadel. Terrorists started to shell the hill by tank, anti-air gun and mortars. It is impossible to enter the citadel, the central entrance is destroyed, militants shell it.
The Syrian military and militia members demonstratively burned the black flag of ISIL (Organization banned in Russia).
Combat resumed almost in all of Palmyra on Saturday, except for its historic part. “Falcons of the Desert” militia unit members were able to entrench in the residential neighborhood near the citadel. The army is approaching the military airfield in another part of the city. Fierce combat is underway one kilometer away from the airbase. Terrorists are fighting back.
“The militants that remain in the city are most likely opening fire to cover the retreat. There is no specific information yet, if the terrorists continue to retreat or the ones that remain in the city made the decision to keep fighting back,” “Falcons of the Desert” assault unit commander Abu-Hamze told RIA Novosti.
Militia fighters captured the “Semiramis” hotel facilities and a number of buildings nearby on Thursday. On Friday evening they were in control of the hill on which the fortress stands.
Palmyra is a strategically important city in Damask – Deir-ez-Zor route. Having captured the city, the government forces will be able to launch an offensive on Raqqa, the so-called capital of ISIL (Organization banned in Russia).