Islamic State Pulls Back From Palmyra Syria Following Fierce Fighting

The ruins of Palmyra have long enchanted visitors, its famous Queen Zeinobia occupying the same iconic status for Syrians as Cleopatra does for Egypt.
But the once-bustling Silk Road hub known in antiquity for its mosaic of artisans and merchants of varied ethnic and religious origins is now in the cross-hairs of the terror group Islamic State, whose fighters have looted and destroyed historical and cultural artifacts in Iraq.
Palmyra’s fall does not appear imminent – the Syrian regime has repelled the initial incursion into the city, which is also of vital strategic and political significance.
But government resources are stretched thin and the historic city remains in danger, with the Islamic State renewing its assault on its eastern border and consolidating its hold on nearby towns.
Syrian officials warned on Thursday that militants were just a kilometer away from the historic city, endangering the UNESCO world heritage site’s magnificent ruins.