Over the last five days, several Iraqi paramilitary fighters have poured into the Palmyra (Tadmur) countryside, ahead of the upcoming desert offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
An estimated 1,100-1,200 Iraqi fighters from Kata’eb Imam Al-‘Ali, Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-‘Abbas have arrived to Palmyra, while Russian fighter jets hold off Islamic State terrorists from reaching this ancient desert city’s boundaries.
Previously, the Syrian Arab Army’s 60th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division attempted to advance along the strategic International Highway to the Deir Ezzor Governorate; however, this offensive ultimately failed in mid-June.
For the Iraqi paramilitary fighters; this upcoming offensive will be part of a greater military operation to retake the entire International Highway that flows into the Iraqi province of Al-Anbar.
For the most part, the Iraqi Army and Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd Al-Sha’abi) have liberated most of the Al-Anbar Governorate; however, the Al-Qa’im border-crossing still remains under Islamic State’s control.
Should the Iraqi Army and PMF liberate Al-Qa’im, then the Syrian Armed Forces can apply pressure to the remaining Islamic State terrorists that are entrenched in the Deir Ezzor countryside.