18:55 GMT +323 July 2018
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    View of Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle, known as Palmyra citadel, on a hilltop in the ancient city of Palmyra (File)

    Syrian Government Forces Capture Palmyra Citadel From Daesh - Reports

    © AFP 2018 / JOSEPH EID
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    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.

    The government forces also took over a palace complex to the city's southwest, the Hezbollah-run outlet reported.

    "The army has regained control over the citadel in Palmyra and the mountain range to the southwest of the city. Now we are preparing to storm the city," a source told Sputnik, adding that terrorists fled the heights where the citadel is located after the army had taken the heights over the city.

    The source also said that the city of Palmyra is now within firing range of the Syrian government forces.

    "The Syrian army has established complete control of the firing range over the heights around the historic Palmyra citadel… after Daesh terrorists had abruptly left the area," the source said.

    Earlier today, Syrian government troops secured control over a strategic traffic interchange at the southern entrance to Palmyra, a source told Sputnik.

    Palmyra is considered key for advancing to Daesh stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria. Daesh seized Palmyra, which was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire, in May 2015. Terrorists destroyed a number of historic sights designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel. Jihadists also looted the national museum and the famous Palmyra's necropolis.

    Less than a year after that the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces managed to liberate Palmyra. Russian specialists demined the historic center as well as residential areas of the city. Russian historians and renovators visited Palmyra in early July 2016 and prepared a report assessing the condition of the damaged sites and costs of the renovation works. However, in December 2016, the city was retaken by jihadists.

    Related:

    Syrian Army Secures Control Over Strategic Interchange Near Palmyra
    Syrian Army Destroys Daesh Bomb-Loaded Vehicles, Kills 10 Militants Near Palmyra
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    Daesh, Palmyra, Syria
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