Islamic State releases media from Palmyra

Video released by ‘Amaq News from Tadmur

In the wake of the capture of the city of Palmyra (known in Arabic as Tadmur), the Islamic State has begun releasing media from the region, including photos of executions in the city and two videos from the area.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Islamic State has executed “no less than 17 people in Tadmur city.” Those executed, according to the SOHR, included National Defense Force personnel, Syrian Army soldiers, and locals whom the Islamic State accused of working with the regime. Photos have emerged that seem to confirm this reporting, though the images have not been released from official Islamic State channels and cannot be independently verified. The photos show roughly seven beheaded bodies laying in a street in the city and are too graphic to publish.

The Islamic State has also released two videos from the area through its unofficial news agency, ‘Amaq News. The first video shows several Islamic State fighters clearing buildings that were used by Syrian soldiers. The jihadists also showcase captured weapons and desecrate pictures of Hafiz and Bashar al Assad. In the second video, the Islamic State features footage of the captured prison while other scenes show its fighters driving through the streets of Tadmur. Other footage shows local residents celebrating with Islamic State fighters. The first video can be seen above and the second can be seen below.

Additional photos released by the jihadist group, which can be seen below, show at least two crashed helicopters, but it is unclear if they were downed in the fighting. Other images show the hospital in Tadmur, the gate to the city, and the Tadmur airport.

The Islamic State took full control of the city over the past 24 hours after a weeklong offensive. Syrian troops began evacuating civilians yesterday before withdrawing in the face of the jihadist group’s onslaught. At least 462 civilians, 241 government troops, and 150 Islamic State fighters were killed in the fighting in and around Palmyra since May 13, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The jihadist group also took over several nearby towns and the Jazal oil field. (For more on this, see LWJ report, Islamic State seizes Syrian city of Palmyra.)

Photos from Palmyra/Tadmur:

Photos from the hospital:

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Photos from the Tadmur military airport:

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Photos from the Tadmur prison and other areas of the city:

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Another video released by ‘Amaq News from Tadmur:

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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15 Comments

  • Paulo Romero says:

    This is a shambles. It’s a classic case of battle weary troops trying to save their own skin against those willing to die. In both case , Palmyra and Ramadi the Daesh used armoured suicide bulldozer bombs. Airpower alone will not win this fight , nor is there going to be any “degrading and destroying” when Daesh now controls 50% of Syria and the whole of Anbar. After nearly a year of sustained combat , even the Kurds are slowing down. Daesh has shown that it can recoil in one area and strike at will in others. One of the Daesh tacticians has been doing some serious study of Vo Nguyen Giap and they have intimate . The air campaign is ultimately too costly and not precise enough. It’s time for boots on the ground …any takers??

  • Harry F says:

    To the non-military layman these guys seem to move efficiently know how clear and enter buildings etc,
    They look a lot better trained than the previous generations of jihadis.
    What’s the opinion of the LWJ. Military fraternity? Should we be concerned?

    • An Unhappy Camper says:

      I have to agree with you I’ve seen more of ISIS videos than I would care to count. These guys are obviously well trained well motivated, and well lead. Their combat leadership is tactically sound. I’m not convinced ISIS would not hand the Shia militias their heads some day. I think there is considerable reason for concern.

    • Jessinoregon says:

      I’m retired Army. Having spent my career as a “leg” medic with only two deployments (both combat)- I am hardly an expert, but I believe ISIS to be a Saudi proxy that is western trained and funded. Yes. That worries me. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m probably wrong, but I know enough to say that a terrorist element like that cannot exist in a vacuum, they receive financial and logistical support from someone and it’s not the Iranians.

      • REDDRAWERISOPEN says:

        So the vast oilfields, gas fields, cities and half of Syria and a third of Iraq that they control is not enough to fund them. Even though all indications are they are rolling in money from what they have from those resources, before a penny comes from abroad.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    A clever ISIS will not destroy the Roman antiquities but use the structures as hostages to deter airstrikes by US and its partners. As in, “You bomb, we destroy.” Bomb free Palmyra would make a great staging area for ISIS.

    Whether these Islamic fundamentalists can control their horribly cruel nature is surely answered with a “No”.

  • Sean Osborne says:

    That’s because many of these IS troops are former Iraqi Republican Guard or were trained by them.

  • alan hawk says:

    We need to stop looking at this as ISIS fighting in Iraq and ISIS fighting in Syria. ISIS is carving out a Sunni State from both countries. We need to fight them in both countries and realize that Iraq and Syria no longer exist.

    • codejnkie says:

      that’s what they would have you think. With all the technology available and all the NSA juice. I am surprised IS communication is so good. If there is any degrading and destroying it would be nice to see supplies and communications being degraded and destroyed.

  • Nima says:

    It is inconceivable that while 241 gov soldiers died IS only lost 150 men.
    Besides the fact that defenders normally have a casualty ratio of 1-3, IS after their first unsuccessful attempt to take the city were bombed by airforce when they retreated to al Sukhnah.
    Probably IS lost at least that number of men as the army.

    • Will says:

      In an outright battle, maybe. In a rout, lopsided statistics like that are entirely possible. If IS lost most of their ~150 in the opening moments of the battle, the intensity of which caused the defenders to rout (which we’ve seen all too often on the Iraqi side,) the figures make sense.

      Not that you’re wrong, it’s certainly possible the figures are nonsense. I think they’re at least plausible, though.

      • Jon Veigel says:

        Once again, we seem to be paying attention only to the classic’ low-level ‘ battle space chosen for us by the other side.
        The first Brigade into Iraq in 2003 was fired on by a sniper in one of the first buildings. Apparently some of our battle leaders thought it was ‘UNFAIR’ for them not to fight on our terms.’ The Army then and now seem to ignore the wisdom of Winston Churchill’s observation that we should be modest, for we had much to be modest about! The reality of ground-to-air missiles forced us to establish a combat floor of 10,000 feet. for the F-16. We continued to brag about its low-level troop support! Life begins to repeat it self when you notice the new F-35 carries a TOTAL of 182 25-mm shells.

        My main critique is to note that we seem quite happy to play on their tactical-level playing field. My civilian-based, military-obsessed mind, however, ,keeps returning top the strategic level. Surely, say I to myself, our strengths, their weaknesses, demand that we understand and degrade their command, control, and communication from their company-equivalent structure to the highest level in their combat structure. It should go unsaid that we ought to have the detail to destroy at will the strategic/operational level of their financing, the highest operational/
        strategic decision level (and how it’s implemented.). Their videos and press releases demonstrate a competency with a hubris we can admire, yet, not deal with.

        I apologize for the 180-degree turn here, but I believe we face a near-term- national threat defined by the ever-closer intersection of two exponential curves:
        1) the proven ability to produce autonomous, low, slow, small drones designed for masked flight and equipped with cheap ECM equipment. Each flight would be intended to be one-way, loaded out with armament only sufficient for the intended target.
        2) each intended target would be critical to the operation of an essential part of our national infrastructure. not easily or quickly replaced: 1- the nation has about 6 structures around the coastline to receive undersea, intercontinental, data cables; 2- courtesy of a national magazine, a major electric utility just dedicated its major system control center just behind the windows on the 9th floor of a major new office building in the downtown center of a major Eastern city; 3- the nation has an ever larger number of very large data warehouses providing cable links for the Internet, data storage, etc. Until recent generations, the cable trays carrying the highest capacity of inbound/outbound cabling were the trays immediately nearest to the roof. Doubtless reasonably protected against the local areas largest 100-year natural threat, it would not fare as well against one or more of these purpose-built drones. A well-distributed attack could easily be imagined destroying a piece of very expensive equipment. that depends on a supply chain of minimum depth and long-term replacement.

        An historical analogy that creates the perfect analog of autonomous drones is to visualize the French field at Crecy in the 11th century. The main French battle force was fully armored, as were their horses, while the reach of their armament was the tip of their lance. By contrast, the English, each man with his new long-bow and arrows in precious plenty were not only out of French sight but a gracious distance from that lance tip. Once the arrows were launched in their hundreds or thousands the French soon learned the danger of a parabolic arc of arrows falling in clouds vertically with a devastating momentum that left the French dead, dying, disorganized, and defeated.

  • yahya shabaka says:

    There is no alternative in Syria or Iraq for the Sunnis. The west, Iran and Shia led government are the catalyst to this conflict. They persecuted to no end the Sunni population. The US assisted Maliki in Iraq and was aware of the persecution but continued funding him and his goons.

    The west says to Sunni Mujahideen “Go home and drop your weapons, return to your townships”. The Shia Militias would love this! Return to persecution and to be picked off one by one?

    What solutions have to the west offered? None! So IS and Al Nusra and others will, I believe carve out a Islamic State. The evidence is that Muslims are coming from around the globe to join IS and to help to establish a Caliphate under Sharia Allah Ta’ala.

    The west policy is no Sharia Law or strong fundamentalist Arab State leaders. This is evident in the Pres Morsi Coup in Egypt and Hamas. And the clipping of power of Islamic groups who won elections then had their power taken from them in North Africa.

    The west tells the fundamentalist to join the democratic process. Many have in Egypt and in Gaza. In Egypt upwards 700 fundamentalist Muslims on death role. Fundamentalist persecution is wide spread in North Africa. Which all heads of state have a security agreements with the US. And it calls for persecution and interdiction of fundamentalist Muslims.

    This fatal policy has led to wide spread fighting from fundamentalist Muslims who were persecuted, jailed, terror designated and maligned.

    IS and others ultra violent Mujahideen will fight to the last man before returning to western promises which are lies!

    • codejnkie says:

      I fail to grasp how fundamentalist persecution has any bearing with the current situation. Of course there is issue between ordered government and fundamentalist ideology. If they feel misunderstood or ignored that is because they are. They are not interested in peace except by absolute destruction of their enemies.
      Hence, When they are defeated they complain because they suck. Fundamentalists have always had a 1 track mind. They complain that the U.S. and its Middle East allies are to blame for all of their imagined trouble! The West does not tell fundamentalists to join the democratic process. The west tells fundamentalist’s to smile at the camera before they are blown to hell.
      Fundamentalists Have no place in any society. They tell themselves they have just cause so they can sleep at night. they have no cause at all. Fundamentalists are only interested in self aggrandizement for the sake of such. By rationalizing killing and soaking themselves in the sin they despise and then convinced will be washed away when they are blown apart. They are a stain of human history. A very poor example of honorable Muslims. Fundamentalists have not made any kind of rational argument. Rational argument would be make sense and they don’t make sense. The West cannot be blamed for Middle East failure. That has been accomplished all on their own. They are simply not rational.
      Either they are the puppet master pulling the strings of the poor, uneducated, disenfranchised, Muslim masses or they ARE the poor disenfranchised Muslim masses being manipulated into making genocide their main objective. I spit on fundamentalism for its hyperbolic self important wretched and slimy existence. It is nothing more than a stain. History will remember Fundamentalist as something to be forgotten, thrown away in the dustbin of history…

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