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Syrian government forces enter Palmyra

Russian-backed Syrian government forces and their allies fought their way into Palmyra today, driving back Daesh militants who have held the historic city since December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported.

Daesh captured Palmyra, whose ancient ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, twice during Syria's six-year conflict.

The army recaptured the city from the ultra-hardline group in March last year, but Daesh seized it again in December.

The group has razed ancient monuments during both of its spells in control of Palmyra – destruction the United Nations has condemned as a war crime.

A Syrian military source told Reuters earlier today: "The army's entry to the city will begin very soon."

The army said it had captured an area known as the "Palmyra triangle" a few kilometres west of the city after rapid advances in recent days backed by Russian airstrikes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organisation that reports on the war, said government forces were expected to storm Palmyra at "any moment". Russia has said its aircraft are supporting the army offensive in Palmyra.

Twitter accounts ISIS Hunters, a taskforce of Russian-trained soldiers, posted videos online of what they claimed to be Daesh fighters which they had killed in Palmyra as well as a video of the destruction of a Daesh tank.

Daesh first captured Palmyra from the government in 2015. During its first period in control of the site, the jihadists destroyed monuments including a 1,800-year-old monumental arch.

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Europe & RussiaInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsRussiaSyriaUN
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