Islamic State terror group enter the historic ruins of Palmyra
Published 21/05/2015 | 07:51
Islamic State fighters in Syria have entered the ruins of Palmyra after taking complete control of the historic city, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday.
The al Qaeda offshoot controlled the central city's military air base, prison and intelligence headquarters, having stormed it on Wednesday, said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Clashes since Wednesday had killed at least 100 pro-government fighters, he said. Pro-government forces have withdrawn, according to Syrian state media.
Bebars al-Talawy, an activist in the central province of Homs, also said IS controls the ruins at Palmyra, a Unesco world heritage site famous for its 2,000-year-old Roman-era colonnades and other ruins and priceless artefacts.
There are fears the extremists will destroy the ruins as they did major archaeological sites in Iraq.
There are so far no reports of destruction of the city's historic artefacts.
Syrian pro-government fighters withdrew from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday after Islamic State militants entered its neighbourhoods in large numbers, Syrian state television said.
In a newsflash it said most of the city's civilian population had been evacuated before the withdrawal. Islamic State fighters were trying to enter Palmyra's historical sites and establish themselves there, it said.
Additional reporting by PA