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fight against ISIS

Syrian forces recapture ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS

For the second time in 12 months, the Syrian government says it has pushed Islamic State fighters out of the historic city of Palmyra.

ISIS militants first gained control of Palmyra in May 2015, and killed residents and destroyed ancient buildings, artifacts, and monuments like the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel before Syrian forces were able to recapture the city in May 2016. While the Syrian government was focused on fighting rebels in Aleppo, ISIS slipped back into Palmyra in December 2016 and once again took control of the city.

Russia is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Russian media said Thursday that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin Syrian troops were able to retake the city because of help from the Russian air force. The monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday heavy shelling was reported across Palmyra, and as they ran out of town, ISIS militants left behind land mines.