Speed Reads

Crisis in Syria

Islamic State retakes ancient Syrian city of Palmyra

After launching an offensive earlier in the week, Islamic State militants recaptured the city of Palmyra, Syria, on Sunday.

ISIS entered Palmyra on Saturday, and fighters were forced to withdraw to orchards on the outskirts of the city after being targeted by Russian airstrikes early Sunday; the Russian Defense Ministry says it carried out 64 strikes, killing more than 300 militants. Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, said government forces are regrouping outside of the ancient city, which was held by ISIS from May 2015 to March of this year.

In recent weeks, the Syrian government has been focused on its battle in Aleppo, and BBC News correspondents say ISIS appeared to be taking advantage of the situation by entering Palmyra again. While the city was captured by ISIS, the militants destroyed ancient temples, arches, and towers, and activists say they are now going door to door looking for troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.