facebook
twitter
search
search

Syrian forces take back ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State

By UPI Staff   |   March 27, 2016 at 10:54 AM

PALMYRA, Syria, March 27 (UPI) -- Months after Palmyra fell to the Islamic State, Syrian forces recaptured the city Sunday.

Syrian forces, along with militia loyal to the government, seized the city and chased out IS fighters, CNN reported.

The militants took control of Palmyra in May and immediately began demolishing ancient ruins considered among the world's most treasured. Twenty priceless monuments were ruined.

Syrian officials said Islamic State militants destroyed two Muslim holy sites, a 500-year-old shrine and a tomb where a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed's cousin is said to be buried.

Palmyra, in the Homs countryside northeast of Damascus, was a caravan oasis with various influences. Its art and architecture are a mix of Greek, Roman and Persian influences, according to UNESCO.

President Bashar al-Assad hailed the recapture of Palmyra from Islamic State as an "important achievement" in the "war on terrorism," the BBC reported.

Military sources said the Syrian army now has "full control." Supported by Russian air strikes, it had been gaining ground for several days.

Assad, commenting to a group of visiting French parliamentarians, said this showed the success of the army's strategy.

Images released by the Syrian military Saturday showed helicopters and tanks firing at positions in Palmyra. The date of the images could not be independently verified.

In a statement released Saturday, Russia's defense ministry said the air strikes hit 158 IS targets, killing more than 100 militants.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Videos