ICC Note: According to reports, government forces from Syria, supported by Russian airstrikes, have forced ISIS out of the historic city of Palmyra. While ISIS held control of Palmyra, they were responsible for the deaths of many and the destruction of countless ancient artifacts. This recapture of Palmyra comes as a major victory in the fight against ISIS, who is facing increasing pressure from government forces on multiple fronts.
03/27/2016 Syria (Fox News) – Syrian forces backed by Russian airstrikes drove ISIS militants from Palmyra on Sunday, state media and an opposition monitoring group said.
Government forces had been on the offensive for nearly three weeks to try to recapture the central town, which fell to ISIS in May. The recapturing of Palmyra ends the group’s reign of terror over a town whose famed 2,000-year-old ruins once attracted tens of thousands of visitors.
The advance of Syrian forces marks the latest setback suffered by ISIS, which has come under mounting pressure on several fronts in Iraq and Syria.
Syrian president Bashar Assad described the offensive as a “significant achievement.”
In comments reported by Syrian state TV Saturday, he said that the overthrow of ISIS in the historic town offered “new evidence of the effectiveness of the strategy espoused by the Syrian army and its allies in the war against terrorism.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed ISIS lost the town, saying there were around 400 extremists killed, according to Sky News. Activists added that some fighters withdrew from Palmyra toward the town of Sukhna and other areas in the Homs province.
“That’s the heaviest losses that ISIS has sustained in a single battle since its creation,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Sky News. “It is a symbolic defeat for ISIS comparable with that in Kobani.”