News / Middle East

    Syria Vows to Continue Fight Against IS After Taking Palmyra

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian soldier holds a Syrian national flag in front of the Palmyra citadel, March 27, 2016.
    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian soldier holds a Syrian national flag in front of the Palmyra citadel, March 27, 2016.
    VOA News

    Syria's army says the recapture of Palmyra will be a launching point for expanded operations against the Islamic State group, while the country's antiquities chief declared the already historic site will carry even greater significance as a survivor of the militants' campaign.

    Backed by Russian airstrikes, pro-Syrian forces reclaimed control of Palmyra after a 10-month Islamic State occupation that included the destruction of several monuments dating back nearly 2,000 years.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the offensive left 400 militants dead along with more than 180 pro-government fighters.  President Bashar al-Assad hailed it as an "important achievement, and fresh proof of the efficiency of the Syrian army and its allies in fighting terrorism."

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian soldiers gather around a Syrian national flag in Palmyra, Syria, March 27, 2016.
    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian soldiers gather around a Syrian national flag in Palmyra, Syria, March 27, 2016.

    Damage assessment

    State media said experts will be in Palmyra in the coming days to assess the damage done by the militants who have destroyed relics they deemed idolatrous in places they seized during the past two years in both Syria and Iraq.

    Antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim vowed to rebuild what Islamic State destroyed, including the Arch of Triumph and the Temple of Baalshamin.  But he said other monuments in the Roman-era city were in good condition.

    "A unique symbolism is now added to the world-famous historical city after having defied terrorism," said Abdulkarim, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged by Syria's plans to protect and restore Palmyra.

    "This ISIS and extremists, terrorists, they have been not only killing brutally people, they've been destroying the human civilization's heritages -- thousands-year-long heritages -- which should be a common asset of whole humanity even though one may belong to Syria or elsewhere," Ban said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    WATCH: Aerial footage of Palmyra, Syria

    Aerial Footage of Ancient City of Palmyra, Syriai
    X
    March 28, 2016 1:51 PM
    Aerial views of the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria after Syrian government forces recaptured it from Islamic State militants.


    IS flees

    The remaining militants fled Palmyra to the east toward Deir Ezzor where they control a string of territory extending north through their de facto capital in Raqqa to the Turkish border and south to Iraq.

    By seizing Palmyra, the Syrian government opened up the 100 kilometers of desert between there and Deir Ezzor.

    The takeover of Palmyra is the latest in a series of setbacks for Islamic State.  Iraq's army three months ago drove the extremist group out of the city Ramadi in neighboring Iraq.  The Iraqi army also announced this week the start of a major offensive to retake the city of Mosul.

    In Photos: Ancient City of Palmyra

    • In this undated photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows the site of the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria.
    • FILE - This undated file image released by UNESCO shows the site of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
    • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows destroyed statues at the damaged Palmyra Museum, in Palmyra city, central Syria.
    • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows destroyed statues at the damaged Palmyra Museum, in Palmyra city, central Syria.
    • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a general view of Palmyra citadel, central Syria.
    • This photo released on Sunday March 27, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a general view of Palmyra, central Syria.
    • The demolition of ancient monuments like this colonnade in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria was targeted by the Islamic State group and among cultural sites destroyed in 2015.
    • One of the original renderings of the 3D model of Temple Bell, in Palmyra, made from Bassel Khartabil photographs. (Bassel, New Palmyra.org)
    • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian soldier holds a Syrian national flag in front of the Palmyra citadel, March 27, 2016.
    • FILE - This file photo released on Sunday, May 17, 2015, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows the general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria.
    • In this photo released on March 24, 2016, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian government soldiers gather outside a damaged palace, in Palmyra, central Syria.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    March 28, 2016 9:51 PM
    Well done Russia. Russia is better then Muslim Saudi Arabia who is sponsoring Terrorism in Syria and Iraq.
    This is shameful defeat to Saudi Arab, how much Billion Dollars wasted to bring Puppet Govt as per wish of USA.
    Saudi Arab cannot provide food, water and shelter to Muslims, rather SA will be happy to see tears and pain on their face.
    SA must learn from his blunder mistakes and rectify quickly other wise SA cannot save him self from Fire.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    March 28, 2016 9:45 PM
    Democracy means each people in any country have their right to select their own leader, regime and their own way of living without being interfered and punished by other countries (by military intervention, sponsored coup de tat, sanctions....). The US and Western nations are forcing other peoples to think in their western way, to choose the leader who pleases the US or the whole nation will face punishment by economic sanctions or isolations. It is absolutely not democracy! You cannot promote the so-called "democracy" when you are violating democracy and freedom of other peoples. That's why there are wars after wars, killings after killings.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 28, 2016 2:18 PM
    Good news made possible by Russia-air force allowing ISIS no-breathing-space. It’s expedited by vacating the US-sponsored moderate terrorist-rebels. One-thing to emulate; war must be fought like war. If the US-led coalition in Yemen/Iraq’d done their duty as not on military tourism, perhaps all this war’d’ve ended by now. When militaries behave and work like military, definitely insurgents l respect them. But if every army behaves like the US army, then the world’d’ve a multiplicity of insurgent groups, because every group that rises understands that it’d be treated with kid-gloves.

    The US Army used to be known as powerful. But today no-one’s afraid of it. If anything, like the toothless bulldog; it cannot bite anymore. Isn’t it surprising that ISIS’s yielding ground in Syria faster than in Iraq, because it respects Russia’s ruthlessness in the war front, and that the US’s bound to lose more men in the campaign than Russia following the tactical approaches employed. No army on mission engages on pleasure, Obama’s army thinks otherwise and so thrives theoretically. If Russia finishes the business of retaking Raqqa, it could be out of Syria in six moths, while USA may remain in Iraq/Yemen for another 7 years. Talk about military efficiency, who has it?

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    March 28, 2016 12:35 PM
    No punishment for the atrocities they have committed could ever suffice, only a warning to future generations to prevent any future caliphate ambitions by muslims. They have permanently worn out their welcome to the human race.

    by: natural solution
    March 28, 2016 3:06 AM
    It is American intervention that created ISIS in Syria. It is Russian intervention that destroyed ISIS in Syria. But, US that wants to demonize and discredit Russia is not willing to accept this obvious fact.

    isolating, demonizing and discrediting Sadam has not helped Iraq. isolating, demonizing and discrediting Assad has not helped Syria. isolating, demonizing and discrediting Russia has miserably failed.

    So, it is time for US to abandon its policy of "isolating, demonizing and discrediting" other leaders and countries that disagree with US. after all, allowing others to disagree is what democracy is all about. So, instead of imposing its own view on every country in the world, US must allow other nations to disagree and pursue their own path. every country is different, let them be different. nature is intelligent than human beings. nature will decide its own course.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 28, 2016 7:37 AM
    Give the US and their NATO lapdogs credit for killing all those unknown unheard of number two terrorist leaders they said they killed in the last 15 years, [and then], give Russia, Iran and Hezbollah credit for helping end the war against the Sunni Muslim terrorist/rebels in Syria in less than 5 months? .. The goal of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah is to kill all the Sunni Muslim terrorist/rebels or drive them out of Syria, while the US goal is to continue to hunt and kill more suspected unknown unheard of number two terrorist leaders, and get rid of Assad? .. it's a matter of priorities, isn't it?

    by: Plain & simple
    March 28, 2016 2:46 AM
    American military intervention in middle east has only brought bad results(chaos, mayhem and lawlessness). But, Russian intervention has brought about all the good results (diplomatic solution, peace process, rule of law). Russia with Assad achieved what so called American coalition that includes about 60 countries failed to achieve.

    Now, American propaganda of " Russia is not fighting ISIS in Syria" has miserably failed. It is Russian intervention that stopped ISIS from taking over Syria. It is Russian Intervention that made a peace process possible. It is Russian Intervention that weakened and destroyed ISIS in Syria. But, Even Western countries have started to accept the obvious truth now.
    It is time for the west to dump its meaningless rivalry with Russia. It is time to team up with Russia to find solutions to the world problems.

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