IS group enters Syrian town of Palmyra, nears ancient ruins

May 16, 2015, 11:37 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State fighters have pushed into the Syrian town of Palmyra, home to famed 2,000-year-old ruins, and are clashing with government troops in residential areas.

The militants entered from the north and have not reached the UNESCO world heritage site, which is southwest of Palmyra.

The IS push on the town in the central Homs province, which began on Thursday, has raised alarm in Syria and abroad. The group is notorious for destroying archaeological sites in neighboring Iraq.

Palmyra is one of the most famous world heritage sites in the Middle East, and before the civil war thousands of tourists came to see its Roman-era colonnades. The U.N. cultural agency chief Irina Bokova expressed alarm Friday over the clashes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activist Bebares al-Talawy said the militants were clashing with government troops in the northern part of the town on Saturday. The Observatory said the IS fighters have seized control of parts of the town.

Al-Talawy, who is near Palmyra, said the group took control of a government building and the water company. He said government forces still control the airport in the town’s northeast.

A video circulated on social media shows a man raising a black IS flag on a building allegedly in northern Palmyra. The video appeared authentic and was consistent with AP reporting.

In recent days the extremists have seized a gas field northeast of Palmyra as well as nearby villages, driving many of the residents out. Government aircraft have bombed militant positions on the town’s outskirts.

Syrian officials said in a statement carried by the state news agency that troops repelled a militant advance from the south.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
20 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
21 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
21 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
27 days ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles


Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
IS group enters Syrian town of Palmyra, nears ancient ruins