Palmyra falls back into IS fold in second wind

Updated: Dec 12, 2016, 10:49 IST | Agencies

The Islamic State jihadist group recaptured Palmyra yesterday after Syrian armed forces pulled out of the desert city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

The city fell after Syrian forces withdrew from PalmyraThe city fell after Syrian forces withdrew from Palmyra

Beirut: The Islamic State jihadist group recaptured Palmyra yesterday after Syrian armed forces pulled out of the desert city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“Despite the ongoing air raids, IS retook all of Palmyra after the Syrian army withdrew south of the city,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

The jihadists made a lightning-fast advance across the city after overrunning a northern neighbourhood and capturing the famed citadel to Palmyra’s west.

The IS-linked Amaq news agency also reported that IS regained “full control” of the city yesterday after taking the citadel, which overlooks Palmyra from a strategic hilltop.

But a fierce Russian bombing campaign killed scores of IS fighters and forced others to withdraw at dawn yesterday. “Intense Russian raids since last night forced IS out of Palmyra, hours after the jihadists retook control of the city,” said Rahman.

In a statement issued in Moscow, the defence ministry said Russian warplanes conducted 64 air strikes against “positions, convoys and advancing reserves of militants” in Palmyra.

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