Syrian forces advance into IS-held Palmyra

CCTV News

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Government forces have moved into Palmyra, Syria in an offensive to take back the city from ISIL.

CCTV’s Alaa Ebharim is embedded in the middle of the battle and files this report.

Syrian forces advance into IS-held Palmyra

Syrian forces advance into IS-held Palmyra

Government forces have moved into Palmyra, Syria in an offensive to take back the city from ISIL. CCTV's Alaa Ebharim is embedded in the middle of the battle and files this report.

Follow Alaa Ebharim on Twitter @Alaa_Ebrahim_tv

As we head into Palmyra deep into the deserts of central Syria, we are often escorted by convoys of reinforcements heading into the city in a clear signal that the military is sparing nothing for this battle.

The mountains are the line separating ISIL militants from the Syrian army units. The areas we travelled in used to be ISIL territory but a recent military campaign pushed the militants group farther towards the east.

Before entering the battlefield Syrian officers briefed us on the latest in the situation and needed security measures.

“The situation is changing rapidly on the ground and this means it is more dangerous and difficult for us to secure journalists who want to cover this story,” General Sameer of the Syrian army press office said. “The terrorists have vast expertise when it comes to desert warfare, and we have that now after we fought them here for over a year.”

The target of the military operation is to get to Palmyra. But to do this the army has to take the surrounding mountains that overlook the city — a task that can be extremely challenging with ISIL militants having the high ground.

Before night fall, the army takes the ancient citadel and we can glimpse at the archeological site of Palmyra, the over 2,000 year-old columns that have withstood the test of time, wars, and so far, even the world’s most dangerous terror group.