The Islamic State terrorist group (which is banned in Russia) seized Palmyra early in the summer of 2015. The Syrian authorities warned at that time that the unique historical complex could repeat the sad fate of the ancient Iraqi cities of Ashur and Nimrud, which had been fully ruined and eliminated by insurgents.
SANA news agency reported that militants 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 destroyed the famous Arch of Triumph, Temple of Baalshamin and Temple of Ba’al. They also looted the Palmyra Museum and Necropolis.
Most Palmyra residents left the city last May together with the troops. Now there are from 15,000 to 20,000 people there.
The Syrian forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces started the offensive on Palmyra in late March. On March 23, the ancient city was under the Syrian army’s fire control. The next day Syrian government troops and self-defense forces entered the western outskirts of the city. On March 24 it was reported that the government forces and local militias were storming the last stronghold of the Islamic State terrorist group near Palmyra.