Syrian government forces have regained control of Palmyra, the historic Syrian city that was overrun by the Islamic State in May of last year.
Syrian state media reported Sunday that government troops, backed by Shia militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the ground and Syrian and Russian strikes from above, drove ISIS militants out of the city overnight. Soldiers found and dismantled hundreds of bombs and other explosive devices planted by the Sunni extremist group throughout the city, which is located in the eastern countryside of the Homs province. State media estimates about 450 ISIS militants were killed in the operation to recapture Palmyra.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-organization that documents activity in Syria with the help of activists in the country, confirmed Sunday that government troops had pushed ISIS fighters out of the city.
Russia’s ministry of defense said Saturday Russian warplanes carried out 40 sorties and killed more than 100 militants in the operation.
Syrian government forces had been on the offensive for nearly three weeks in an attempt to gain control of Palmyra, which was seized by ISIS in May. Last week, troops recaptured Palmyra Castle, an ancient citadel.