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Sunday, March 27


27 March, 2016 - 06:00

Syrian government forces have retaken the city of Palmyra from Islamic State, a military source told RT.

"After heavy fighting during the night, the army is in full control of Palmyra – both the ancient site and the residential neighborhoods," an army source told AFP.

"Army sappers are in the process of defusing dozens of bombs and mines planted inside the ancient site," the source added.

IS fighters have reportedly retreated from Palmyra to the towns of Sukhnah, Raqqa, and Deir Ezzor.

It was previously reported that Syrian Army forces had advanced into the city on Saturday, with support from Russian airstrikes.

Television footage showed explosions taking place inside Palmyra, with smoke rising from buildings. Tanks and armored vehicles fired from the outskirts of the city.

It comes after Russian warplanes carried out 158 airstrikes, hitting terrorist targets in and around the city, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. More than 100 extremists were killed in the bombardment, and several pieces of heavy equipment destroyed.

“Russian Aerospace Forces have carried out 40 sorties in the Palmyra region,” a statement published on the Defense Ministry’s official website read, adding that “as a result...four tanks, three artillery pieces, four ammunition depots and five vehicles were destroyed.”

The recapture of Palmyra marks the biggest reversal for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) since Russia's intervention into Syria.

The ancient city, seized by IS in May 2015, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to dozens of remarkable monuments of antiquity, and a number of historical sites that have been destroyed by IS jihadists since they captured the city, among which were the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and the Arch of Triumph.

On Saturday, the Syrian government’s head of antiquities, Mamoun Abdelkarim, said the authorities would try to restore the historic sites.

"We will rebuild them with the stones that remain, and with the remaining columns,"Abdelkarim told Reuters, adding that his team would "bring life back to Palmyra."



From AMN (Al-Masdar News) today:
The Syrian Armed Forces and National Defense Forces, backed by the Russian Air Force, have triumphantly recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra in the heart of the Syrian Desert.
The Syrian Armed Forces began their widescale offensive on March 8th, striking the surrounding hills and orchards before they eventually stormed the ISIS-held bastion. The number of ISIS militants killed in the 18-day long battle has not been confirmed by the Syrian Arab Army; however, a third-party source who has been accompanying the Desert Hawks during the battle has confirmed to Al-Masdar News that hundreds of jihadis have been killed, along with a large number of vehicles and heavy weapons destroyed.
From SANA today:
Homs, SANA- A military source said that army established full control over Palmyra city in the eastern countryside of Homs province.
The source added that units of the Army and Armed Forces, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, on Sunday eliminated the last gatherings of ISIS terrorists in the city and destroyed their last hideouts.
The army’s engineering units combed the city completely and dismantled the bombs and explosive devices planted by ISIS terrorists.

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