Islamic State militants have withdrawn from areas in the historic city of Palmyra they had seized on Saturday, a group monitoring the conflict in Syria and a Syrian official said.
The militant group's attack on the government-held city of Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, has raised concern its World Heritage site could meet the same fate as ancient monuments the group has destroyed in Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring organisation, said Islamic State fighters had pulled out of northern areas of the city taken on Saturday but still held a village to the north of Palmyra
, the Syrian government
's antiquities chief, told Reuters the army
had regained control of the whole city, and that the ancient ruins to the southwest of the city were unharmed. "The outskirts they had entered were all recovered," he said.
is strategically significant because it sits at a crossroads linking it to the cities of Homs
Islamic State has mounted frequent attacks on government-held areas in recent months, part of an apparent effort to expand beyond its strongholds in eastern and northern Syria
Syrian state TV, citing a military source, said the army
had killed dozens of Islamic State militants to the east of Palmyra
and were "pursuing their withdrawing remnants in several directions in the area".