Palmyra city, Syria (Reuters): The Syrian army confirmed on Thursday that it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State (ISIS) for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes.
It further stated that Islamic State militants retreated to areas in the east, the Observatory reported. Government forces took control of swathes of Palmyra and conducted combing operations to clear mines on Thursday.
During Islamic State's first occupation which ended in March last year, the ultra-hardline jihadist group destroyed some of Palmyra 's priceless archaeological heritage. It is believed to have razed other parts of the historical ruins after regaining control in December.
The Syrian army is also fighting Islamic State east of Aleppo city, where it is pushing to reach the Euphrates river, and in the city of Deir al-Zor, where it controls an enclave besieged by the militants.
Government and opposition delegations are attending U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, where the government's chief negotiator hailed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for keeping his promise to retake Palmyra .