Backed by Russian aircraft, Syrian troops pushed Friday toward the historic central town of Palmyra in an offensive to recapture it from the Islamic State group whose fighters have damaged some of the world’s most precious archaeological sites since they overran the town last May.
After night fell, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that the offensive advanced toward Palmyra and that scores of IS fighters have been killed or wounded in Syrian artillery fire near the town. The reports gave no casualty numbers or other details.
Activists who monitor the Syrian conflict reported intense airstrikes in Palmyra and its suburbs. In Moscow, a Russian Defense Ministry official confirmed his country’s warplanes in Syria were flying in support of the Syrian offensive.