The Islamic state strengthens it hand by grasping the ancient city of Palmyra and executes 400 prisoners on site.
Palmyra was an ancient Semitic city, located in Homs Governorate, Syria. Dating back to the Neolithic, Palmyra was first attested in the early second millennium BC as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert.
The city was mentioned in the annals of the Assyrian kings and might be mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It was incorporated into the Seleucid Empire, followed by the Roman Empire, which brought great prosperity.
The militants seized the city of 50,000 people, site of some of the world’s most extensive and best preserved ancient Roman ruins, on Wednesday, days after also capturing the city of Ramadi in neighboring Iraq.
The two near simultaneous victories were Islamic State’s biggest successes since a U.S.-led coalition began an air war against the fighters last year, and have forced an examination of whether the strategy is working.
“The terrorists have killed more than 400 people.. and mutilated their bodies, under the pretext that they cooperated with the government and did not follow orders,” Syria’s state news agency said, citing residents inside the city.
It added that dozens of those killed were state employees, including the head of nursing department at the hospital and all her family members.
Islamic State supporters have posted videos on the Internet they say show fighters going room to room in government buildings searching for government troops and pulling down pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and his father.