Syria army seizes town north of Palmyra

PALMYRA, Syria: Syria’s armed forces on Saturday expanded their control north of the historic city of Palmyra, state television reported, capturing a nearby town from Islamic State group militants.

Russian-backed Syrian troops seized the town of Al-Amiriyah on the northern outskirts of Palmyra “after fierce clashes” with IS fighters, state television said.

An AFP journalist on the western edge of Palmyra saw artillery operated by Russian and Syrian troops fired from a government-held hilltop on IS positions in the city.

“The clashes are taking place now in the Amiriyah neighbourhood, which is Daesh’s gateway into the city,” a Syrian military source told AFP.

IS overran Palmyra in May 2015, causing a global outcry in fear of the UNESCO world heritage site known as the “Pearl of the Desert”.

The group has since blown up UNESCO-listed temples and looted relics that dated back thousands of years. AFP