Home World Middle East News Syrian Army Retakes Palmyra from ISIS

Syrian Army Retakes Palmyra from ISIS

Syrian army has re-captured the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS, say state media and a monitoring group.

The Syrian government forces had been gaining ground for several days, supported by Russian air strikes. Military sources say the army now has “full control”.

ISIS seized the UNESCO World Heritage site and modern town in May 2015.

Images released by the Syrian military on March 26 showed helicopters and tanks firing at positions in Palmyra.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The date of the footage could not be independently verified.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, there was still gunfire in the eastern part of the city, but the bulk of the ISIS force had pulled out and retreated further east.

In a statement released on March 26, Russia’s defense ministry said the strikes hit 158 ISIS targets killing more than 100 militants.

When ISIS seized Palmyra it destroyed archaeological sites, drawing global outrage. Two 2,000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers were left in ruins.

ISIS, which has also demolished several pre-Islamic sites in neighboring Iraq, believes that such structures are idolatrous.

The prospect of Palmyra’s liberation was welcomed by UNESCO, which has described the destruction of the ancient city as a war crime.

The head of Syria’s antiquities authority, Mamoun Abdelkarim, promised to repair as much of the damage as possible as a “message against terrorism”.

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