"We are encouraged and fortunate that the Syrian Government Forces have been able to retrieve, defeat ISIS from Palmyra and are now able to preserve and protect these human common cultural assets. And I am also encouraged by their announcement that they will try to not preserve or protect, but trying to restore. I hope they will be able to do that," the UN said in a read-out statement published on its website.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that international experts would be able to start working on preservation and reconstruction of Palmyra right after the end of demining operations.
Palmyra and its historic ruins have been under ISIL control since May 2015. The jihadist group, which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia and the United States, has since destroyed part of the ruins, which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.