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Russian bombing forces IS out of Palmyra

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016

Intense Russian airstrikes have forced Islamic State fighters to withdraw from the central Syrian city of Palmyra hours after the extremist militia retook the ancient city, a monitoring group reports.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the militants retreated to the outskirts of Palmyra in Homs province on Sunday after the counterattack.

They had seized most of the city late on Saturday.

The bombardment caused unspecified casualties among Islamic State insurgents, the watchdog added.

Russia is a key military key of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Thursday, Islamic State launched a surprise offensive aimed at retaking Palmyra, which the al-Qaeda splinter group lost to government forces more than eight months ago.

During the attack, the hardline jihadists seized strategic hills and major silos around Palmyra.

In late March, government forces recaptured Palmyra, which Islamic State had seized in May 2015, wreaking havoc on the city's famous arefacts.

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