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The Syrian army on Sunday liberated the ancient city of Palmyra in the Homs province. The UNESCO World Heritage site was seized by militants of the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) in early summer 2015. The Syrian authorities at that time were frightened the city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world standing at the crossroads of several civilizations could share the miserable fate of Iraq’s ancient cities of Assur, Nimrud and Hatra that were destroyed by the Islamic State militants.
Syria's SANA news agency earlier reported that militants had destroyed the ancient fortress of Emir Fakhr-al-Din on the entrance to Palmyra from the side of Homs. In less than a year of IS control, militants reportedly destroyed the famous Arch of Triumph and the Temple of Baalshamin. They also looted the Palmyra Museum and Necropolis. On Sunday, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said the institution was beginning to consider options for the preservation and restoration of remaining historic monuments in the ancient city. Russia's State Hermitage, a museum of fine arts and culture in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg, plans to take part in the restoration works.
What remains of the ancient city's cultural sites in a photo gallery by TASS.