Russia and Syria blamed for allowing ISIL to retake ancient city

Washington Examiner:
The U.S. general in charge of the war against the Islamic State says Russia and the Syrian regime are to blame for allowing the Islamic State to retake the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

"Personally, I think they probably took their eye off the ball in Palmyra because they were so focused on Aleppo and they didn't properly secure their gains," Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, said of the city that was liberated in March.

Townsend, speaking to Pentagon reporters from his headquarters in Baghdad, said that in beating a hasty retreat, Russian and Syrian forces abandoned heavy weapons, armored vehicles, and perhaps some shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

"I'm not really exactly sure, they didn't send us an inventory of what they've seized there," Townsend said. "We're watching that, and as soon as we have an opportunity, if the Russians don't strike it we will."
I think the reality is that Syria and Russia lacked the troops necessary to secure Palmyra.  The Syrian army has suffered significant attrition during the course of this war from casualties and defections.  The Russian ground presences has mainly been special ops fighters supplementing the Syrians.   They focused most of their resources on recapturing Aleppo and lost their gamble on Palmyra.


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