At the same time, Syrian military continued its advance along the Homs-Deir ez-Zor highway towards the western outskirts of the ancient city. FNA points out that their next target there will likely be a luxurious villa previously owned by the Qatari royal family, which is now being used by ISIL as its forward base of operations and as a training facility for the new recruits.
The Islamic State has already moved a considerable number of troops, weapons and equipment to Palmyra in preparation for the inevitable battle, FNA adds.
The ancient city of Palmyra is a site of major archaeological importance and features in UNESCO's World Heritage list. The Islamic State militants who currently control the city shocked the world when they looted and destroyed a countless number of priceless historic sites in Palmyra, including its ancient temples of Bel and Baalshamin; it fell under the control of the jihadi militants in May.