Syrian forces have gained more ground against Daesh in their fight around the ancient city of Palmyra on Saturday, liberating the town of al-Amiriyah.
According to the Arab country’s state television, SANA, the troops managed to recapture the town, which is located on the northern outskirts of Palmyra, following “fierce clashes" with Daesh.
"The clashes are taking place now in the al-Amiriyah neighborhood, which is Daesh's gateway into the city," AFP quoted an unnamed Syrian military source as saying.
Syria’s official SANA news agency reported army advances in the western part of Palmyra and intensive military operations in its south.
“Violent clashes also are going on in the vicinity of Palmyra airport” in the east of the city, the agency added.
The historic city fell to Daesh last May. The Syrian army and allied forces kicked off an assault earlier this month to take it back.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that Syrian forces that are backed by airstrikes and artillery fire have so far retaken one-third of Palmyra mainly in the west and north of the city.
Saturday’s gains come a day after the Syrian army took control of the citadel, which overlooks Palmyra.
"Our heroic forces are continuing to advance until we liberate every inch of this pure land," a soldier told state television from slopes of the citadel.
The fall of the city raised global concern as the militants have blown up Palmyra’s UNESCO-listed temples and looted relics that dated back thousands of years.
The liberation of Palmyra would cause eastern Syria to open up to the army and deal a heavy blow to Daesh who is in control of most of the two provinces of Dayr al-Zawr and Raqqa in the east.
In recent months, Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against extremist groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material