Islamic State fighters in Syria are in the northern districts of the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria.
United Kingdom based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, say the IS militants launched an attack on the northern neighbourhood in Palmyra, in the eastern part of the central Homs province, killing and wounding over 47 government troops. This follows a report from Friday on how ISIS is about to Level the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra.
Xinhau News reports:
The UK-based watchdog group said 29 IS fighter were killed during Saturday’s offensive, while 47 government troops were either killed or wounded.
In an earlier report Saturday, the Observatory said the IS militants captured the al-Hail gas field, 40 km northeast of Palmyra.
It said the capture of that important gas field came after intense battles with the Syrian government forces, adding that the clashes there still continue amid Syrian airstrikes on the IS positions near Palmyra.
The gas field is important as it feeds the many electricity generating stations in the Homs, the countryside of Homs and of the northern city of Aleppo.
Other opposition groups said tens of the Syrian soldiers, as well as tanks and armored vehicles were stationing in that area, making it the first defense line for Palmyra.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the situation in Palmyra said the Syrian army sent reinforcements to protect the ancient oasis city from the attack of the IS.
He stressed that the ancient part of the city is still safe and under the government control, adding that intense clashes are still raging at the outskirts of the city.
The state news agency SANA said the Syrian forces killed tens of the IS militants who attempted to storm the eastern part of the city and to the south of the ancient citadel of the city.
UNESCO said Palmyra is considered one of the most important cultural sites in the Middle East.
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, according to the UNESCO.
Syria has many prehistoric, Greek, Byzantine and Islamic heritages. Before the crisis, Syria had attracted many multinational archaeological missions coming for searching new clues of historical facts on the development of civilizations.
The UNESCO has listed six Syrian sites on the World Heritage List, including the old cities of Damascus and Aleppo, al-Madhiq castle, the Krak des Chevaliers, the ancient city of Bosra and Palmyra and the ancient villages in northern Syria.
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