«The city is both a symbolic and strategic prize for Assad’s forces, as it provides control of the surrounding desert extending all the way to the Iraqi border. At least 400 ISIL fighters were killed in the battle for the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. On the government side, 188 troops and militiamen were killed».
«We were expecting the worst. But the landscape, in general, is in good shape,» Maamun Abdulkarim told AFP from Damascus. «We could have completely lost Palmyra… The joy I feel is indescribable.»