The ancient city of Palmyra, retaken by Syrian government forces from ISIS fighters on Sunday, is reported to be better preserved than had been widely feared. Although several important monuments, like the iconic Temple of Bel, were destroyed by militants with the Islamic State terror group, an AFP correspondent who has reached the UNESCO World Heritage Site said that much it is still intact. Maamun Abdulkarim, Syria’s antiquities chief, told AFP from Damascus, “We were expecting the worst. But the landscape, in general, is in good shape. We could have completely lost Palmyra... The joy I feel is indescribable.” The Assad regime has pledged to build on the win, one of its most important against ISIS in two years, with an advance against other jihadi strongholds.
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