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Syrian army announces recapture of Palmyra from Daesh

By Reuters - Mar 02,2017 - Last updated at Mar 02,2017

Syrians who have returned to their homes after Al Bab town centre has been entirely freed from Daesh extremists as part of the operation ‘Euphrates Shield’, are seen at Al Bab district of Aleppo, Syria, on Thursday (Anadolu Agency photo)

BEIRUT — The Syrian army said on Thursday it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh extremists for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes.

Daesh retook Palmyra in a surprise advance in December, after having been driven out eight months before. 

"With backing from the Syrian and Russian air forces, units of our armed forces recaptured the city of Palmyra, in cooperation with the allies," the military said in a statement. 

The army and Iranian-backed militia advanced inside Palmyra on Thursday as Daesh withdrew completely, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said.

Daesh militants retreated to areas in the east, the observatory reported. Government forces took control of swathes of Palmyra and conducted combing operations to clear mines on Thursday, it said.

During Daesh's first occupation which ended in March, the extremist group destroyed some of Palmyra's priceless archaeological heritage and is believed to have razed other parts of the historical ruins since regaining control in December.

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