December 11, 2016 / 12:55 PM / a year ago

Russia says Islamic State launches second assault on Syria's Palmyra

MOSCOW (Reuters) - More than 4,000 Islamic State militants have regrouped and launched a second attack to try to recapture the ancient city of Palmyra, Russian news agencies cited Russia’s monitoring centre in Syria as saying on Sunday.

A still image taken on December 11, 2016 from a video released by Islamic State-affiliated Amaq news agency on December 10, 2016, purports to show Islamic State fighters advancing over the Hayan mountain south of Palmyra. Handout via REUTERS TV

“Despite heavy losses in manpower and equipment, the terrorists are trying as hard as possible to secure a foothold inside the city,” Interfax quoted a statement from the centre as saying. “Syrian troops are fighting to defend Palmyra.”

The centre said Islamic State was drawing on “significant forces” from its strongholds in Raqqa and Deir al Zor.

Earlier on Sunday, a news agency affiliated with the militants and a Britain-based monitoring group said Islamic State recaptured Palmyra after briefly retreating in the face of heavy Russian air strikes.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Louise Ireland

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