Islamic State controls half of Syrian territory

BEIRUT – Islamic State controls more than half of Syria’s territory after its westwards advance into the central city of Palmyra, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday.

The militant group, which already controlled wide tracts of land in Syria’s north and east, captured the ancient city late on Wednesday, the first time it has seized a large population centre directly from Syrian pro-government forces. The areas it holds are mostly sparsely inhabited. Syria’s main cities, including the capital Damascus, are located on its western flank along the border with Lebanon and the coastline and have been the priority for the Syrian military.



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