[Ed. – JV]
The Islamic State terror group now controls over half of Syrian territory after seizing the village and archaeological site of Palmyra Thursday, activists monitoring Syria’s civil war said.
Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the Associated Press the extremists overran the archaeological site, just to the southwest of the modern settlement on Palmyra, shortly after midnight local time.
In Damascus, state TV acknowledged that pro-government forces had withdrawn from the town.
An activist in the central province of Homs who goes by the name of Bebars al-Talawy said ISIS has taken over the ruins at the UNESCO world heritage site famous for its 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades and other ruins and priceless artifacts. Before the war, thousands of tourists a year visited the remote desert outpost, a cherished landmark referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.”