Jihadis celebrate capture of Russian base in Palmyra, Syria

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has produced a torrent of content from the battle of Palmyra in recent days. The videos, photos and statements are, of course, jihadi propaganda. The images are intended to help the so-called caliphate brag about one of its few battlefield successes in recent months.

One video released earlier today trumpeted the capture of a Russian base inside Palmyra. The Islamic State’s men are shown sorting through the weapons and ammunition left behind. It appears the Russians were gone by the time Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men showed up. The video shows some Russian books on a table and paraphernalia scattered on the floor, but there is no indication that any Russians were killed when the base was overrun.

Separately, Amaq also produced an infographic (seen below) supposedly documenting the jihadists’ spoils during the four-day battle in Homs province. Amaq claims that all of the following were seized: 44 tanks, 7 BMPs, 7 130mm cannons, 14 23mm cannons, several anti-armor rocket launchers, dozens of anti-armor rockets, various automatic weapons, military vehicles, weapons and ammunition. In addition, 352 men from the Syrian Army and allied Shiite militias were purportedly killed.

Of course, it is impossible to independently verify these figures. However, the video from inside the Russian base does document some of the Islamic State’s “spoils.” Screen shots from the recording can be seen below.

Amaq’s infographic summarizing the battle of Palmyra:


Screen shots from the video recorded inside the Russian base in Palmyra:























Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Paddy Singh says:

    Why did not the Russian planes return to bomb places that are documented above? Poor leadership?

  • Timothy says:

    I wouldn’t say ISIS is bragging about the success. If we study the video carefully, one big question comes to my mind, why the hell the Russians flee from the battle leaving behind so many weapons and ammos. The video is not all about the spoils. It’s what they are going to do next. They said they are going to “return” the weapons and ammos to where they belong. Whatever that means. Subsequent videos shows ISIS is now in North and Southeast T4, the largest military airport in Syria.

  • Moose says:

    This was a huge gain for IS. Oryx is reporting that they also captured an S-125 surface-to-air missile. IS will go after the T4 base next and who knows what they’ll find there.

  • Evan says:

    The lone pawn is my favorite…

    Looking at the photos, it does seem like the Russians tried to burn some stuff, what exactly, I’m not sure.
    I’m curious about some things, such as,
    What if anything the Russians did burn, or if that photo is from the base?
    Were those crates found at the base?
    Some nice new rifles, a ton of magazines, some larger automatic weapons with built in bipods?

    If the Russians did burn some things, why not burn everything?
    Cheap tents and other less than permanent structures are easily replaced, even if the thought was, “well, were coming back soon,” it would’ve made more sense to torch everything, and deny the enemy any kind of propaganda hit, and certainly denying the enemy all those weapons would’ve been better than what happened.

    So, knowing that they weren’t going to burn it, and that lots of arms and ammunition would be left behind, and subsequently captured by the enemy, why didn’t they at least try to boobie trap the stash?
    Then you’d kill a bunch of birds, with minimal stones.
    But, since either those things didn’t happen, or I don’t have enough information to be able to tell exactly what DID happen, it’s almost all conjecture at this point.

    One last question; all these jihadis are hanging out, in broad daylight, in what appears to be a hastily abandoned former Russian military installation, or at least some kind of housing/staging point/facilities for Russians in Syria,
    digging through their newly acquired weapons and gear……..

    NOBODY thought, “hey, we know where those guys are, they have a bunch of stolen weapons and equipment, we have lots of air assets in country, MAYBE, we should bomb the hell out of them??!?”


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