Middle East

Syrian forces and Islamic State group battle for Palmyra

Syrian government forces advanced further into Palmyra on Saturday, after two weeks battling Islamic State to recapture the strategically-important city.

Syrian forces advanced further into the city of Palmyra on Saturday while battling the Islamic State group. Syrian Armed Forces (SAF) have been fighting the past two weeks to recapture the strategically-important city from the group.

Syrian President Assad declared victory in recapturing the city on Sunday, declaring it an “important achievement.” IS reportedly evacuated remaining members out of the city to other territory that the group holds.

Palmyra was captured by IS in May of 2015, and is the location of several UNESCO world heritage sites including thousand-year-old archaeological monuments, temples, and castles.

SAF is reported to be advancing within the city and have at least partial control over three neighborhoods. Ground forces are backed by artillery and air strikes. Video footage shown on Lebanese television show tanks and vehicles firing at suspected-IS targets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the government army took control of one third of the city, primarily to the west and north, according to Reuters. Retaking the city would mean the Syrian government has easier access to the eastern part of the country which IS still controls, including a significant portion of the Euphrates Valley.

(Image: Wikipedia/Ruins of Palmyra)


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