Islamic State fighters 're-enter' ancient Palmyra in Syria after heavy fighting

Amman Updated: Dec 10, 2016, 06:50 PM IST
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Islamic State's assault, which began late on Thursday, has killed dozens of Syrian soldiers and quickly taken over grain silos and control of some oil and gas fields around Palmyra, monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Photograph:(Reuters)

Islamic State militants have "re-entered" the ancient city of Palmyra on Saturday in eastern Syria, almost 10 months after the city was captured from them by the Syrian government backed by Russia, a war monitor said according to Reuters.

The jihadist group had advanced to its outskirts for the first time since losing the city earlier this year, it added. 

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights said the militants had entered Palmyra after they had taken strategic heights near the city and captured the northern part of the city and mountains around it. The group's news agency Amaq said that it had taken the strategic Jabal al Tar and Jabal Antara mountains, Reuters reported.

The group had launched an offensive on the city earlier this week.

The Syrian army earlier said it had sent reinforcements to Palmyra. However, some rebels said the forces deployed were from Aleppo which was forcing the Syrian government to divert troops from the city which is already under carnage due to fight between IS rebels and government.

The militants were pushing towards the T4 airbase, one of Syria's major military bases, near Palmyra city and which Russian forces have been using to support the Syrian army.

The assault, which began late on Thursday, had killed dozens of Syrian soldiers, monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

 (WION with inputs from Reuters)