Isis fighters 'plant mines' around ancient Palmyra site

Radical Islamist fighters have placed bombs around the historic city, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Alexander Sehmer
Sunday 21 June 2015 21:04
The ancient oasis city of Palmyra
The ancient oasis city of Palmyra

Islamic State (Isis) fighters have dug into positions around Palmyra, planting mines and bombs in ancient parts of the Syrian city, according to a group that monitors the conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that it was so far unclear whether Isis was preparing to destroy the city's ancient Roman ruins or whether the bombs were intended to deter attackers.

"They have planted it yesterday. They also planted some around the Roman theatre, we still do not know the real reason," Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria's head of antiquities, told Reuters that the reports of Isis planting bombs in Palmyra "seems true".

"The city is a hostage in their hands, the situation is dangerous," he said.

Isis fighters overran Palmyra, a Unesco World Heritage site, in May. The group has previously destroyed other ancient sites and steal historical artefacts.

(Additional reporting by agencies)

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