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WARNING: YOU MAY FIND VIDEO BELOW DISTURBING

Site of Daesh atrocities discovered in the desert near Palmyra

(RT, 9/3/2017) ~ Horrifying scenes of burned and mutilated bodies dot the mountainous desert around the newly-liberated Syrian city of Palmyra. RT’s Lizzie Phelan has come across the remains of four soldiers, which could be among the many undiscovered victims of Daesh (Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL).

The rocky desert around the ancient city of Palmyra has seen bloody battles recently as Daesh terrorists were being pushed back from the city by the Syrian Arab Army, for the second time in two years.

The terrorists retreated leaving behind a trail of corpses, young and old, many of ISIS ranks but also the victims of their brutal acts. Phelan reports that the Syrian Army simply does not have enough resources to scour hectares of the desert for remains, so it was not long before RT’s crew, accompanied by the Syrian forces, came across a site of atrocities.

Phelan describes finding charred and apparently decapitated bodies of two Syrian soldiers, while two more corpses were discovered in a ditch nearby.

While the crew notified the Syrian Army about the horrifying find, landmines and the possibility of coming under mortar attack of scattered ISIS militants that may still be lurking kilometers away from the scene, will for now prevent more troops from being sent to search the desert, Phelan reports. One such mine the terrorists left buried in the dirt can be seen on RT’s footage.


RELATED:

Slain child soldiers, wrecked tanks: RT first to witness Palmyra battlefield

(RT, 6/3/2017) ~ RT was the first media outlet to go into an area near Palmyra, Syria where fierce fighting took place between jihadists and pro-Damascus forces. The battlefield is littered with destroyed ISIS tanks and bodies of slain Islamists, some in their teens.

Palmyra was re-captured from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group this week, about two months after it fell back into its hands. RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan is at the scene, reporting on the aftermath of the operation.

The mountains surrounding the desert city are of strategic importance for controlling Palmyra and have seen some of the most intensive fighting in the past week. The area is now littered with whatever IS forces left behind when retreating northeast.

RT crew saw several tanks disabled by the pro-Damascus forces, some obliterated by anti-tank missiles. The armor was part of the defensive positions of IS, as evidenced by discarded rations, ammunition crates, and other supplies scattered around.

More gruesome are the bodies of IS fighters, which are yet to be recovered and buried. After days in the hot sun, they show unmistakable signs of decomposition, but one can still see that some of them were young boys barely in their teens. IS is notorious for recruiting and brainwashing children to fill their ranks.

WARNING: YOU MAY FIND VIDEO BELOW DISTURBING

The bullet wounds that killed IS fighters testify to the intensity of combat in the area, Phelan says. Apparently, the shooting was taking place at very short distances.

“We filmed some of the many dead ISIS bodies scattered throughout the mountains. We simply couldn’t film all of the dead bodies because there are many and they are scattered across a large area, so this is a fraction of what there is,” she said.

The retreating jihadists also set on fire oil and gas wells located in the mountains, and black plumes of smoke continue to rise in the sky, Phelan reported.


Scores of ISIS bodies, burning gas fields – RT visits battleground outside Palmyra

(RT, 5/3/2017) ~ RT’s crew has travelled to the mountains overlooking Palmyra – where the battle for the iconic Syrian city was decided – and witnessed scores of Islamic State fighter’s bodies and burning oil and gas fields set alight by the retreating terrorists.

“The battle for Palmyra really didn’t take place in the city itself, the bulk of the fighting was in the mountains overlooking the city,” RT’s Lizzie Phelan said from the Hayyan gas fields outside the ancient city.

The mountains have become a “graveyard” for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters, she noted.

“We’ve seen this whole area littered with scores of bodies of IS fighters. Many of them dismembered by artillery fire,” but even more killed by gunshot wounds, Phelan added.

According to the correspondent, the fighting in the mountains was “extremely close, in some cases almost hand to hand.”

According to Phelan, the jihadists are “still not far away” as they’re holed up on mountain tops north-east of Palmyra.

“Pro-government forces aren’t advancing any further for now. They’re on standby waiting for further orders.”

RT’s crew also saw the Hayyan gas and oil fields being set alight by retreating IS fighters, with the correspondent describing the fire as “huge.”

“Despite the fact that ISIS have been defeated here, they’re still inflicting huge economic damage… on the Syrian people… because putting out this fire will cause an immense amount of resources,” she said.

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In January, IS blew up the Hayyan gas plant in the area, which produced a third of Syria’s electricity, causing a major blackout in the capital Damascus and elsewhere.

The Russian military, which backed the Syrian operation to retake Palmyra, announced on Friday that the city was recaptured from terrorists.

Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has seen different factions seizing control on several occasions during the conflict.

The jihadists, who controlled it throughout 2015 and for the last couple of months, have destroyed many historic monuments in Palmyra, including the 1,800-year-old Monumental Arch of Palmyra, most of the Temple of Bel, and the Temple of Baalshamin and the Tetrapylon Roman theater.

The Governor of Homs Province, Talal al-Barazi, in an interview with RT, praised the liberation of Palmyra as a “great historic achievement”. The operation, conducted by Syrian forces with Russian military support and planning, provided the “opportunity to preserve the historical monuments of the city,” he said.


Governor of Homs Province estimated damage caused by Daesh in the ancient city of Palmyra as ‘substantial’.

Talal al-Barazi, Governor of Homs Province (Arabic): “First of all, I want to welcome the Syrian Arab Army [SAA] and our Russian friends who have planned the operation and contributed to this great historic achievement. I hope that with the help of Allah we will achieve more victories in the direction of al-Sakhna as well as in the direction of the Shaer gas field. Yesterday and today, we have evaluated the state of the infrastructure. There is substantial damage to communications, water, electricity and canalisation. Today the leaders of the relevant departments have estimated the amount of damage. Some of them have immediately begun to carry out the primary works. When the Syrian sapper battalion completes the clearance operation and the destruction of the explosive devices installed by ISIS in the city, the immediate work on the restoration of public services will begin.”

Talal al-Barazi, Governor of Homs Province (Arabic): “Yes. There is a group of Russian specialists who work together with the Syrian sapper battalion. They began the works yesterday, and they continue at the moment. Indeed, the Russians work on the ground along with the demining units of the Syrian army. They are engaged in mine clearance as well as the restoration of stability and security in the city. I believe that the operation of the Syrian army and the support of the Russian specialists have been successful and fast. It provided the opportunity to preserve the historical monuments of the city. It was well planned so as to minimise damage to the city.”


SOURCES:
RT's Lizzie Phelan and Reporters from the Battlefields 
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