Vladmir Putin congratulates Assad on recapturing Palmyra

The Islamic State first captured the ancient city in May of last year

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The Independent Online

Russian President Vladmir Putin has praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on reclaiming the city of Palmyra from the so-called Islamic State.

Putin personally congratulated Assad by phone on Sunday and stressed the importance his regime played in recapturing the city.

"Assad highly valued the help Russian air forces have provided and underlined that such successes as regaining Palmyra would have been impossible without Russia's support," Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters.

Regaining the ancient city has been widely viewed as a victory over the terror group after they captured the capitol back in May of last year.

Soldiers gather around a Syrian national flag in Palmyra, Syria on Sunday. SANA/Associated Press

Peskov added that President Putin told Assad that he would continue supporting Damascus in the fight against the Islamic State, the Russian news agency TASS reports.

"Palmyra was demolished more than once through the centuries and we will restore it anew so it will be a treasure of cultural heritage for the world.”

Assad previoulsy called the achievement "fresh proof of the efficiency of the Syrian army and its allies in fighting terrorism," Al-Arabiya English reports.

Mamoun Abdulkarim, head of Syria's Archeology and Museums General Directorate, told USA Today that the government would soon begin efforts to rebuild the damage caused by militants.

“The general and known viewpoint prefers not to rebuild antiquities, but in the case of Palmyra it is different,“ he said. ”We seek to restore the devastated temples in a way that preserves its historical identity depending on the original stones remaining in the site or bringing new identical ones from the city’s quarry.