Syrian army captures Palmyra’s ancient citadel
Damascus, March 1 (IANS) The Syrian Army captured the historic citadel of the country’s ancient oasis city of Palmyra on Wednesday, after battles with the Islamic State, a military source told Xinhua.
The Syrian Army and allied fighters captured the Palmyra citadel west of the city, as well as the Qatari Castle southwest of Palmyra amid a collapse in the ranks of the IS militants, the source said on condition of anonymity.
The IS fighters are fleeing toward the residential part of the city, he added.
The army unleashed a counter offensive 47 days ago to retake Palmyra, after the IS militants captured it for the second time last December.
The source said the city could entirely fall back to the army soon.
The IS thinks the city important as it connects areas under the terror group’s control in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour with areas under its control in the eastern countryside of the central province of Homs.
Palmyra contains monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
Syria has many prehistoric, Greek, Byzantine and Islamic heritages. Before the crisis, Syria had attracted many multinational archaeological missions coming for new clues on historical facts on the development of civilisations.