Islamic State militants were reported on Thursday to be advancing in a government held area near one of Syria’s world heritage sites, part of a major offensive in central regions by the jihadist group that has destroyed antiquities in Iraq. Islamic State fighters reached online said the group was shelling an air base near Tadmur, an oasis in the desert north-east of Damascus
also known as Palmyra. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the militants had taken up positions outside the town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, after capturing al-Sukhna, 75 km (46 miles) to the northeast, on Wednesday. An army source said fighting continued in al-Sukhna for a second day on Thursday and troops were still in their positions.