A member of the Syrian pro-government forces carries a Daesh flag as he stands on a street in the ancient city of Palmyra. AFP
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Syrian regime forces backed by Russian airstrikes battled Daesh (ISIS) insurgents around Palmyra Monday, trying to extend their gains after taking back control of a city whose ancient temples were dynamited by the ultraradical militants. The loss of Palmyra Sunday is one of the biggest setbacks for the terrorist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014 across large parts of Syria and Iraq. Clashes continued northeast of Palmyra between Daesh and forces allied to the government, supported by Syrian and Russian airstrikes, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.The United States is leading an international campaign of airstrikes against Daesh in both Syria and Iraq.Russia said it would assist with securing and removing land mines in Palmyra following the campaign, and the Kremlin said Monday that the Russian air force would continue to help Syrian government forces.Its director Rami Abdel-Rahman said most residents had fled before the government offensive and the Observatory had not heard about any civilian deaths. He said 417 Daesh fighters were so far known to have died in the campaign to retake Palmyra, while 194 people were killed on the Syrian government side.
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