The Syrian Army claims to have retaken the city of Palmyra from the Islamic State. Bashar al Assad’s forces, backed by their Iranian and Russian allies, are battling Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s jihadists on several fronts. The Islamic State frequently claims “martyrdom operations” against Syrian regime fighters in Aleppo province, Deir Ezzor, and elsewhere.
The Syrian regime is trying to recapture the city and Russian troops appear to be helping in the endeavor. This also comes just days after Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will be withdrawing the “main part” of its forces in Syria.
Russian airstrikes targeted the Islamic State throughout Syria this past week. The self-declared “caliphate” released dozens of propaganda photos claiming that the Russians damaged bridges and buildings in Raqqa, and killed civilians in a marketplace in Al Bukamal. Civilian casualties have been confirmed by other sources. Meanwhile, Western officials say it is increasingly likely that the Islamic State’s co-called Sinai “province” downed a Russian airliner in the Sinai on October 31.
The Islamic State has released a new video showing the execution of 25 Syrian soldiers in the ancient city of Palmyra. The executioners appear to be teenagers, or even younger. Days earlier, the jihadist group released images of statues from the city being destroyed.