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Syrian government troops lose combats, and jihadists control the archeological site. First videos on social networks show slaughters in the city. Many inhabitantes fled.
The ancient city of Palmyra - in central Syria - is one of the world’s most important archaeological treasures, as the UNESCO and other organisations recalled. In the last days, Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State) has achieved what many feared: the jihadists now control the city.
According to several media, unverified video footage uploaded on social networks shows how jihadists have taken control of the monumental part of Palmyra.
According to news agencies, more than a third of the city’s 200,000 inhabitants have fled, leaving large parts of the city a virtual ghost town.
Daesh-affiliated Aaamaq News Agency reported the town was “under the complete control of the Islamic State fighters.
Militants used social media to show themselves posing amid ancient columns in Palmyra on Thursday. Other images displayed the summary slaughter of local men whose blood drenched the road.
GOVERNMENT ADMITS THEY LOST CONTROL OF CITY
Syria’s government confirmed that “the army has withdrawn from Tadmur city, the prison, and airport and is now moving in the direction of the phosphate mines and al-Sawwana.”
UNESCO, the UN agency, called for an immediate halt to the fighting between the jihadi group and the forces of President Bashar al-Assad to protect the well-preserved artefacts of the ancient oasis city.
According to the UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Daesh militants now control more than half of Syria’s territories.
PALMYRA, ANCIENT CULTURAL CENTRE
Palmyra, once a Silk Road hub and one of the cultural centres of the ancient world that occupies mythological status in Syria, is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins of antiquity, including the Temple of Bel, built in the first century.
Daesh considers the preservation of such historical ruins a form of idolatry and has destroyed temples and historic artefacts, as well as ancient Assyrian sites in Nineveh in Iraq, after conquering the province in a lightning offensive last year
Palmyra is the second city to be seized by Isis in less than a week, after the militants routed Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province.