IS militants while retreating from Palmyra had laid a thousands of mines and planned to set them off simultaneously as army moved in, reported a Syrian officer.
The officer had said that the main streets along with the side roads in Palmyra had been engineered with explosives weighing up to 50-kilo grams.
However over 3,000 had been already safely detonated since govt. forces, that were backed by Russian jets, recaptured the city on Sunday.
He didn’t say why IS fighters failed to set off the explosives before retreating, but his declaration echoed remarks from the Syria’s antiquities chief, who stated that the militants planned to blowup a greater area of city’s 2,000-year-old ruins than they already wrecked.
An officer said that the bombs that were left behind were linked so they could go off together.
“All govt. buildings are rigged in network connected to the Daesh leadership headquarters,” said the officer.
“The idea was that as we enter it’d all go off at once, not just bomb by bomb. And there’re a really huge number of bombs,” he added.
IS’s defeat in Palmyra wasn’t only a noteworthy military victory for President Bashar al-Assad, opening up country’s central desert to govt. forces & their allies. It also cast the Syrian army as an operative fighting force against the jihadists bent on wanton killing and cultural vandalism.
A military source on Saturday said that the troops have identified over 44 bodies in a mass grave in Palmyra, including civilians & Syrian army members who were captured by IS.
Areas of Palmyra have been cleared, but the Syrian soldiers are yet occupied on detonating the explosives.
“We can’t leave them there. We’re dealing with 90% of them by exploding them because they’re buried firmly in the ground, cemented in the asphalt,” said the officer.
Civilians, however can’t return until the de-mining is complete.
The Smoke could be seen rising from some areas of residential city of Palmyra, lying next to 2,000-year-old ruins.
However, a very few people were to be seen & shops were closed. Residential areas had been damaged completely, while the traces of explosions could be seen on the ground.