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Syrian troops Thursday entered the ancient city of Palmyra and Iraqi forces launched an offensive against Mosul as pressure mounted on key strongholds of ISIS.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was meanwhile holding talks in Moscow to push for peace efforts in Syria, from where ISIS has claimed attacks on the West including this week's bombings in Brussels. Backed by Russian warplanes and allied militia on the ground, the Syrian army advanced into Palmyra after launching a desert offensive early this month, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.Across the border, Iraqi forces announced the start of an offensive to retake the second city of Mosul, ISIS's main hub in Iraq.The army did not say how long this phase of the operation was expected to take and Iraqi forces still look far from being in a position to take the city itself.Experts have warned any battle to retake Mosul would be difficult, given the significant number of extremists and civilians in the city and the time ISIS has had to prepare defenses.
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