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10:32 22 July
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IS militants besiege airbase near Syria's Palmyra


Islamic State (IS) militants besieged a Syrian airbase by the city of Palmyra on Monday, two days after lambasting the ancient city for the second time, reported a monitor group, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

 

Battles erupted on Monday between the Syrian army and IS militants in the vicinity of the T4 airbase, located in the eastern countryside of Homs, near the ancient city of Palmyra, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

 

The UK-based watchdog group added that IS militants succeeded in closing in on the airbase, two days after entering Palmyra, controlling both residential and historic city areas.

 

It added that IS militants are trying to storm the airbase.

 

Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes continue to pound IS posts in Palmyra, after withdrawing from the city following a considerable offensive by IS militants.

 

After hundreds of fighters joined IS militants upon command to take over Palmyra, IS militants launched their offensive against the city on Thursday, finally succeeding on Sunday.

 

The Syrian army captured Palmyra on March 27, 2016, a year after losing it to IS militants.

 

Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that once was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.

 

The city's significance to IS militants is because it connects areas under the group's control in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour with areas under its control in the eastern countryside of the central province of Homs.

 

The recapture of Palmyra is also important as IS militants in Iraq have recently begun entering Syria following substantial losses in battles against the Iraqi army and the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.

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