Syrian planes strike Isil in Palmyra
Syrian forces launched at least 15 airstrikes around Palmyra yesterday as they tried to loosen Isil militants' grip on the historic city.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said that at least four civilians were killed in the bombing raids, the most intense since the jihadists overran the city, famous for its ancient ruins, on Thursday.
Dozens of people were reportedly wounded and Isil is believed to have suffered losses when a military security building was hit.
The airstrikes targeted several areas of the city, including some close to the Greco-Roman ruins, a military source said.
Isil is accused of executing hundreds of people in and around Palmyra, a Unesco world heritage site, since it swept into the city last week. The group has released photographs showing beheaded corpses lying in the streets.
The extremists have also taken hostages: in one set of images, 20 terrified soldiers could be seen, packed into a small room.
Video footage posted online on Saturday appeared to show damage to civilian homes on Palmyra's outskirts, apparently the result of fighting between the regime and the militants.
Last week, Isil hung its black flag in a part of Palmyra's ancient city, raising fears that its destruction would be imminent. (©Daily Telegraph, London)