NEW: Activists say ISIS fighters now control most of Tadmur, just meters away from Palmyra ruins
Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site northeast of Damascus
ISIS has destroyed other archaeological sites, claiming that it considers all religious shrines idolatrous
ISIS militants on Wednesday stormed a central Syrian city that’s just meters from the ancient ruins of Palmyra, activists said.
ISIS fighters entered Tadmur, the Arabic name for the modern city with thousands of residents at the Palmyra site, after days of fighting with Syrian government forces in the area over the past week, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Militants controlled most of the city by the evening and had taken over Tadmur’s prison, the observatory said. Meanwhile, Syrian government forces reportedly have retreated to the city’s security headquarters, and clashes with ISIS are ongoing.
Palmyra’s centuries-old remains of temples and other structures are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Homs countryside northeast of Damascus.