From Syrian Free Press
A VERY HAPPY EASTER!! After the historical Palmyra, also the residential Palmyra city has been liberated today by the Special Units of the Syrian Armed Forces, in joint operations with Hezbollah, Iranian brigades, with aerial coverage by the Russian Air Forces.
Syrian Army Command praises Palmyra victory, stresses that the Syrian Arab Army, with Popular Special Unit Forces and its Allies (Hezbollah, Iranian Brigades, Russian Air Forces) are the only forces capable of eradicating terrorism in the Middle East area, for the benefit of the whole world.
UPDATE: Assad Adviser Says US “Didn’t Lift a Finger” to Prevent Palmyra From Being Taken
The US-led coalition that launched its air campaign in Syria a year ahead of Russia’s intervention “didn’t lift a finger” to prevent Islamic State terrorists from capturing Palmyra, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s political adviser Bouthaina Shaaban told RT.
A day after the ancient city of Palmyra was retaken by the Syrian forces, Shaaban told RT that the western coalition that started its operation in Syria in September 2014 only “pretended to fight terrorism,” but in fact “did nothing” to prevent terrorists from gaining ground.
“The satellites could have detected them [terrorists coming to Palmyra] and they could have launched an airstrike,” she noted, adding that apparently the coalition had not been “sincere in its attempts to eradicate terrorism.”
On the other hand, the call for a wider international coalition to fight terrorism voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin is very important to Syria, Shaaban stressed, adding that Russia has proved the seriousness of its commitment.
“Those who really want to fight terrorism must respond to President Putin’s call and help the Syrian Arab Army and its allies such as Russia, Iran and Hezbollah,” she said.
haaban called terrorism a “common problem” and “cancer tumor”,that inflicts strikes all over the world. There was no excuse for the US-led coalition’s failure to coordinate its effort in Syria, she added.
Welcoming the military campaign conducted by Russia, she mentioned how Putin expressed his “personal deep feelings” towards Palmyra and its unique ancient sites in a telephone call with Assad.
At the same time the adviser condemned the silence of British Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders, emphasizing that the terrorists who seized Palmyra were “the same kind of terrorists who carried out terror attacks in Brussels, Paris, other European cities and in the USA.”
The Syrian Army backed by heavy Russian support fully recaptured Palmyra on Sunday, driving out Islamic State militants who took over the city back in May 2015. The victory of the Syrian forces was hailed by President Assad who called it “an important achievement” and “a fresh proof of the efficiency of the Syrian army and its allies in fighting terrorism.”
UPDATE 2: Report Says Baghdadi Has Died in Israeli Hospital
TEHRAN (FNA)- Leader of the ISIL terrorist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died and members of the Takfiri group in Iraq have already sworn allegiance to Abu Ala Afri as his successor, Arab media reports said on Sunday.
According to two Iraqi news agencies, Alghad Press and Al-Youm Al-Thamen (the 8th Day), as well as sources in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Baghdadi died in an Israeli hospital in the occupied Golan Heights where he had been hospitalized for treatment after sustaining severe injuries during a joint attack of the Iraqi army and popular forces.
The sources added that al-Baghdadi has been declared by his Israeli physicians and surgeons as to be now “clinically dead”.
The terrorist leader was targeted in an airstrike in Western Iraq on March 18.
Al-Youm Al-Thamen quoting intelligence sources said ISIL had earlier recorded several videos of its leader months before the March airstrike and after the first time that he escaped lethal injuries around a year ago to prove that he is alive until the group can introduce a universally accepted new leader.
The sources added that the members of the Takfiri group operating in Iraq have already pledged allegiance to a new leader called Abdul Rahman al-Sheijlar, alias Abu Ala Afri, as Baghdadi’s successor.
There are also unconfirmed reports that internal disputes have erupted and gaps among a number of ISIL factions in Syria and Iraq are widening over the appointment of the new leader, as the ISIL branch fighting Syria has rejected Afri’s leadership and are dithering over Baghdadi’s successor.
The Spanish-language Hispan TV television also released a report on April 25 in which it confirmed the death of the ISIL leader.
A report released by the Guardian on March 21 said Baghdadi suffered serious and “life-threatening” injuries during an attack in March.
The report, of course, added that Baghdadi has survived his wounds.
Baghdadi’s wounding led to urgent meetings of ISIL leaders, who initially believed he would die and made plans to name a new leader.
An Iraqi official confirmed that the strike took place on 18 March in the al-Baaj a district of Nineveh, close to the Syrian border. There had been two previous reports in November and December of Baghdadi being wounded, though neither was accurate.
Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi official who advises Baghdad on ISIL, said, “Yes, he was wounded in al-Baaj near the village of Umm al-Rous on 18 March with a group that was with him.”