The Russian General Staff said that the actions of the US-led coalition in Iraqi Mosul “are mostly reduced to ousting Daesh forces in eastern Syria, which smuggle weapons, explosives, manpower toward Palmyra, Deir ez-Zor, as well as toward the border with Turkey, the city of Al-Bab.”
“We have received information confirmed by several sources about the transfer of a big amount of explosives to Palmyra to help Daesh terrorists destroy world historical heritage in the city. Currently, [Syrian] government forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces are carrying out an offensive against Daesh in Palmyra,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate, said at a news briefing in Moscow.
On December 11, Daesh attacked and recaptured Palmyra, which had been liberated from the terrorists by the Syrian Army with the help of Russian warplanes in late-March. The ancient city had suffered for eight months under Daesh’s control. Some 4,000-5,000 militants, including hundreds of suicide bombers and armored vehicles, took part in the attack.
According to the Russian reconciliation center in Syria, Daesh managed to move considerable forces from Mosul in Iraq and the Syrian provinces Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, where the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had stalled their planned attack on the group.