Government forces, led by the 5th Assault Corps, have resumed operations in the countryside of Palmyra. Government fighters are now advancing on ISIS positions at the Shumriyah Mountains. Some pro-government sources even argue that the area has been already captured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).
Earlier this week, reports appeared that the Syrian military was deploying a large number of reinforcements to the area of Palmyra prior to a widely expected advance in the direction of Deir Ezzor. However, no photos or videos confirming this were available online.
If the Shumriyah Mountains were captured, this could mean that the reported reinforcements had really arrived the area.
The intensification of government military operations in the Palmyra countryside could be linked up with an increased activity of US-backed militants along the Syrian-Iraqi border. Strategically, both sides are seeking to establish control over the border and to reach the city of Deir Ezzor.
Meanwhile, the situation became relatively halt in northern Hama. This week, government forces have not made major attempts to reach the important town of Lataminah controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
This is another factor that could indicate that government forces are now focusing on another front.