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Syria regime rushes to Palmyra to fend off Daesh

Daesh lost control of the historic city earlier this year to the Syrian regime
File photo of the Temple of Baalshamin, a historic ruin in Syria's Palmyra
File photo of the Temple of Baalshamin, a historic ruin in Syria's Palmyra

The Syrian regime's army said it has sent reinforcements to Palmyra, where Daesh fighters have advanced to its outskirts in some of the heaviest fighting since the group lost the historic city earlier this year.

The group had taken over areas to the northwest and southeast of Palmyra, and clashes continued today, the army said in a statement.

An opposition commander from the Jaysh Al-Mujahideen group based in the Aleppo countryside said the Daesh attack was forcing the Syrian government to divert troops from Aleppo, where the army and its allies are on the verge of a major victory against the Syrian opposition.

The army did not specify where reinforcements were brought from.

Daesh's assault, which began late on Thursday, has killed dozens of regime soldiers and quickly taken over grain silos and control of some oil and gas fields around Palmyra, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said.

A statement released by Daesh's Amaq online news agency said the militants had pushed towards Palmyra airport on the town's eastern outskirts, which Russian forces have been using to support the Assad regime's army.

A US-led coalition which is separately fighting against the extremist militants said late yesterday that it had carried out airstrikes that destroyed 168 Daesh oil tanker trucks near Palmyra in one of the largest air operations of its kind.

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