At least 26 fighters were killed on Monday in an offensive against the Islamic State group (EI) near Palmyra, Syria ancient city that loyalist troops trying to regain for weeks, reported the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH).
"The EI has repulsed an attack by regime forces attempting to advance four kilometers west of Palmyra, killing 26 militiamen," said AFP Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the OSDH which has a vast network of informants across Syria.
"The amГ©e moves slowly around Palmyra that were covered by 800 air strikes since the beginning of March," he said.
Supported by the Russian air force, the army began March 7 a battle to regain Palmyra, the "Pearl of the Syrian desert" captured by EI in May 2015. The extremist group has destroyed there since many treasures of the city like the famous Arc de Triomphe, the temple of Bel, or the famous funerary towers.
According to Abdel Rahman, "this battle is crucial for the regime because it will allow him to resume the Syrian desert and reach further east on the border with Iraq," controlled by the jihadists of EI.