Ancient city of Palmyra seized back from IS extremists

A file picture of the Roman Theatre in the ancient city of Palmyra  now destroyed by Islamic State. Picture: Getty

A file picture of the Roman Theatre in the ancient city of Palmyra  now destroyed by Islamic State. Picture: Getty

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Syria’s military said it has fully recaptured the historic town of Palmyra from Islamic State for the second time in a year.

The army statement released on Thursday said that government forces are now in control of the town, following a series of military operations and with the help of Russian air cover and in co-operation with “allied and friendly troops” - shorthand for Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

IS defences of the town had begun to erode on Sunday, with the government troops reaching Palmyra’s outskirts on Tuesday.

This is the government’s second campaign to retake the desert town.

It seized Palmyra from IS militants last March, only to lose it again 10 months later.

Before the civil war gripped Syria in 2011, Palmyra was a top tourist attraction, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year to its architectural gems including the ancient Romabn theatre, which was destroyed by IS militants.

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