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Syrian Army Advances West of ISIL-Controlled Palmyra

Syria’s army advanced this weekend west of the ancient city of Palmyra, reopening a key supply route for oil and gas to the capital, a newspaper and monitoring group said Monday.

“The infantry has made tangible progress in the area of west Biyarat,” said the Al-Watan Syrian daily.

It said the army had “intensified” its operations against the ISIL group in Palmyra and the surrounding area.

“This weekend, the regime ousted ISIL terrorists from al-Biyarat and is now about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Palmyra,” said the opposing UK-based Syrian Observatory.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the capture of the area “allows the regime to secure a transport route for oil from the Jazal field… to other Syrian cities under its control.”

The Syrian army recaptured Jazal, which lies about 20 kilometers northwest of Palmyra, from ISIL terrorists last week.

It is one of the few Syrian oil fields that are controlled by the government.

Army reinforcements were dispatched to Biyarat as air raids rained down on the terrorists in the city, the Observatory said, adding that at least 11 people were killed on Sunday.

ISIL overran Palmyra on May 21 amid global fears that it would destroy the UNESCO world heritage site’s renowned ruins, much like it did to archeological sites in Iraq.

On Sunday, the terrorist group laid mines around the city’s well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins, the Observatory said.

Units of the Syrian army and armed forces also carried out on Monday direct blows to the terrorist organizations’ positions in many areas across the country, inflicting heavy losses upon them in personnel and equipment.

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