Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconNews
line break icon

Ancient Roman ruins of Palmyra again in ISIS hands

Alper Çuğun-cc

Ruins of Palmyra

John Burger - published on 12/12/16

City reclaimed by Syria in March falls after Russian attempt to beat back assault

The Syrian city emblematic of the Islamic State group’s threat to cultural treasures in the Middle East has fallen into the terrorist group’s hands once again.

State media in Syria quoted the governor of the province of Homs, where Palmyra is located, as saying the army had pulled out of the city, a statement that seemed to confirm ISIS’s claims that it has recaptured the ancient ruins and its environs, nine months after it was liberated. Reports of Palmyra’s fall also surfaced over the weekend through the Great Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syrian rebels claimed that the Assad regime had to reduce defenses of Palmyra in order to focus on recapturing Eastern Aleppo, according to Reuters. The wire service said Palmyra fell in spite of dozens of Russian airstrikes aimed at pushing back the Islamist militants.

“The army is using all means to prevent the terrorists from staying in Palmyra,” Homs Governor Talal Barazi was quoted as saying.

Barazi later said militants had brought in reinforcements from their de facto capital of Raqqa and from Deir Zor province in eastern Syria bordering Iraq, Reuters reported.

Amaq, a news agency linked to Islamic State, said the militants had captured the ancient Crusader Castle that overlooks the city and were back in control of Palmyra.

ISIS launched a surprise advance on the city on Thursday, taking control of nearby oil and gas fields and pushing toward the T4 airbase, one of Syria’s largest, which is used by Russian forces, the Observatory said, according to Reuters. Russian airstrikes, reportedly killing 300 militants, tried to hold the group off, but more than 4,000 ISIS militants launched a second assault on Sunday, according to Russian news agencies, quoting Moscow’s monitoring center in Syria.

ISIS has been beaten back in places like Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in recent weeks, but are putting up a fight in Mosul. Their retaking of Palmyra sends a signal that it remains a resilient force, said the Washington Post.

The group ruled [Palmyra] with an iron fist, repurposing an iconic amphitheater as a stage for executions and enacting brutal punishments against residents who broke laws it imposed.

UNESCO describes Palmyra this way:

An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.
Tags:
Islamic MilitantsSyria
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.