A RIA Novosti correspondent Mikhail Alaeddin witnessed how an assault group of the Syrian army moved into the desert fighting fiercely, pushing forward to the al-Quaryatayn heights, destroying terrorist observation posts and fortified positions.
The soldiers took up positions on the embankments along the whole of the perimeter with heavy machinery arriving at the rear. It only took about five minutes before whistling bullets of the enemy came soaring suddenly.
“The first bullets flew within just meters from us. The Syrian soldiers began shouting to us to lie down and we crawled towards them,” the correspondent recalled.
The shelter was not the best, and the armored vehicles moved back to the defense line. “We clung to the ground, ears ringing from the continuous gunfire. Syrian soldiers were on the front line firing densely to cover their colleagues, so that those could take a comfortable position.”
“The fire from the opposite heights only intensified. A tank drew closer to us and fired. There was no time to cover our ears. An enormous amount of dust was raised and for a moment it seemed that the fighting has stopped. I saw that my neighbors in the shelter were in the same state. I only had time to notice that the soldier was trying to say something when the next fire was shot,” the correspondent said.
Judging from the intensity of the battle, both sides understood how important this territory was. The terrorists of Daesh need the Damascus-Palmyra territory on which al-Quaryatayn is situated. The Army plans to cut off the supply of Daesh from the vicinity of al-Quaryatayn into Palmyra.
The city, according to Syrian intelligence is completely empty; the insurgents have concentrated their forces in the surrounding areas.
“We regularly inspect the area with the help of a drone. Al-Quaryatayn is the cheese in a mousetrap. There's absolutely no one, the enemy has concentrated its forces on the heights and in the canyons outside the city. They are using the mountain chain of the city to support the Palmyra front,” Lt. of Syrian Special Forces said.
Continuing his narration, the correspondent noted how that night in the desert makes everything look sinister.
“Silence made everyone nervous. If you look into the black desert, it seems like silhouettes of dozens of people were approaching in our direction quickly and silently, disappearing and appearing closer and closer. Adrenaline was inspiring worst scenario assumptions.”
“There's nobody here, if you look into the wilderness for long, the imagination paints the most incredible picture of ghosts.”
No one could explain from where the smell of drugs came but at that moment it wasn’t so important because the main task was to make sure that the area was under control.
“Toward dawn we were given a guide who would return us to the cars. At sunrise we arrived at the headquarters of the Syrian Special Forces, where we were waiting for the return of the group,” the correspondent said.
“Over a cup of tea the Chief of Staff said that the previous night was one of the most successful in the last three months. Just a few minutes ago he was told from the front that it was possible to destroy two enemy observation points and take control of the three heights. Among the Syrian troops one soldier had been killed and two others were injured.”
Good news arrived during the night from other sectors of the al-Quaryatayn front. The militia and armed forces were breaking out in the desert from three different directions.
“When you listen to the commander and regard the destruction of the mosque through a huge hole in the wall, one can sense hope in the heart of the Syrian army officer that there will be success and development towards end of the war,” the correspondent said.