Syrian army gains control of fortress near western entrance to Palmyra

Syrian government forces along with their allies have recaptured Palmyra citadel from Daesh on Wednesday, securing complete control of the firing range over the city of Palmyra, Sputnik reports.

Islamic State militants first seized Palmyra in May 2015.

The source said the city could entirely fall back to the army soon. Russian forces were able to help Assad retake the city in May 2016, but by December 2016, jihadists had reclaimed it. "They have abandoned most of their positions around the city". Since Daesh took control of the city, UNESCO World Heritage historic sites such as the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin, and the Temple of Bel have been destroyed.

And since December 2016, the extremists have destroyed part of the ancient Tetrapylon and the facade of Palmyra's Roman Theatre.

A media unit run by the allied Lebanese Hezbollah movement said earlier that the pro-government forces had reached the citadel, which sits on a hill overlooking the famous Roman-era ruins.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that government forces were expected to storm Palmyra at "any moment".

The militants were then forced out by a Russian-backed government offensive in March 2016, but regained control while pro-government forces where focused on battling for the city of Aleppo late previous year.

Known in Arabic as Tadmur, Isis believe the shrines and statues to be idolatrous, and forbidden in their strict interpretation of Islam.

  • Zachary Reyes