CNN – At least 1,000 ISIS militants were killed or wounded by government forces and Russian aircraft as the Syrian military recaptured the city of Palmyra and surrounding areas from ISIS, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian Ministry of Defense said Friday.
Rudskoy told reporters that the offensive was planned by Russian advisers and the Syrian military advance continues to the east of the ancient city.
Syrian army units seized Palmyra this week, liberating it after ISIS held it for several months.
Palmyra is seen as strategically important to both sides in Syria’s civil war, which has continued for more than five years.
Located in Homs province, in central Syria, Palmyra is around 225 kilometers (140 miles) from Raqqa, considered ISIS’ headquarters in Syria.
Many statues in the museum had their faces chipped off — in keeping with strict Sharia interpretations of the depiction of human forms.
The Syrian directorate-general of antiquities and monuments was positive that the condition of artifacts meant that they could be restored and their “historic value” returned, according to a translation of an article on the department’s website.
Palmyra was a caravan oasis when Romans overtook it in the mid-first century. In the centuries that followed, the area "stood at the crossroads of several civilizations" with its art and architecture mixing Greek, Roman and Persian influences, according to UNESCO.
Syrian government forces recaptured the ancient city from the terror group in March 2016. Click through to see the landmarks before and after ISIS' occupation.