A file picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows a Syrian policeman standing on the sanctuary of Baal in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID
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ISIS fighters advanced to the gates of ancient Palmyra Thursday, raising fears the Syrian world heritage site could face destruction of the kind the jihadis have already wreaked in Iraq.Syria's head of antiquities issued an urgent appeal for international action to save Palmyra, saying extremist militants were less than two kilometres (barely a mile) from the remains of one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.The jihadi advance on the well-preserved remains came as an international conference was under way in Cairo to address destruction already wreaked by ISIS on the ancient sites of Nimrud and Hatra in Iraq.Syria's official news agency reported that military aircraft had destroyed ISIS vehicles near Al-Sukhnah and that army units killed ISIS militants in the area.The army lost 70 men, including six officers. ISIS lost 55 men, including two commanders, one of them the leader of the offensive.
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