Syrian government forces pushed into the ancient town of Palmyra, where Islamic State (ISIS) militants appeared on the verge of collapse Thursday.

The retaking of Palmyra — a UNESCO world heritage site whose fall to the militants last May sent shock waves through archaeological circles and beyond — would be a significant victory for the Syrian government. But the operation to unseat the group in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, is likely to take much longer and be far more difficult.

The assault came after government forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, managed to capture several hills and high ground around the town earlier this week. Read more…

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Syrian forces clash with ISIS in advance on Palmyra