Syrian soldiers fighting to retake Palmyra back in March. AP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syrian Army reinforcements arrived outside Palmyra to stop ISIS taking over a military airfield near the city on Wednesday.
“The first wave of ISIS attacks has been repelled,” a Syrian officer participating in the operation told the Al-Watan newspaper, according to Tass news.
“The enemy has been pushed 7 kilometers east of the airfield. Terrorists’ attempts to block the highway leading to the airbase from Ferkales have failed,” the officer added.
The Tiyas (T4) Airbase is a major airfield in that region that is still under regime control. Its loss to ISIS may make any attempt to recapture Palmyra significantly more difficult.
ISIS militants recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra over the weekend for the first time since losing it to a Russian-backed Syrian military offensive in March. Its fall coincided with the defeat of Syrian rebels in the country’s second-city, Aleppo.
Back in August 2014 ISIS forced Syrian regime forces out of the entirety of the province of Raqqa after laying siege to their major al-Tabqa airbase there for nearly a month.