New images have emerged from Palmyra, hours after Syrian troops recaptured it from the Islamic State group (IS).
The pictures reveal the extent of destruction wrought by the group during their 10-month occupation of the Unesco World Heritage site.
While some treasured monuments have been destroyed, much of the ancient city’s ruins are said to remain intact.
Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said authorities had been “expecting the worst”.
But he told the AFP news agency that “the landscape, in general, is in good shape”.
He was planning to visit the city on Monday and start a survey of the ruins.
A picture taken on March 27, 2016, shows the citadel of the ancient city of Palmyra as seen from a residential neighbourhood of the modern town after Syrian troops recaptured the city from the Islamic State (IS) group.Image copyrightAFP
The citadel of Palmyra seen from the modern town on Sunday
A general view taken on March 27, 2016 shows the theatre in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, after government troops recaptured the UNESCO world heritage site from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on March 27, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
The theatre, used by IS for executions, remains intact
A view shows damaged artefacts inside the museum of the historic city of Palmyra, after forces loyal to SyriaImage copyrightReuters
Artefacts lay damaged in the museum
The damaged sign of the City Council of Palmyra is pictured after forces loyal to SyriaImage copyrightReuters
The Palmyra city council appears to have been severely damaged
President Bashar al-Assad hailed the recapture of Palmyra from IS as an “important achievement” in the “war on terrorism”.
Military sources say the Syrian army now has “full control” after days of fighting backed by Russian air strikes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr Assad, a Kremlin spokesman said.
The Kremlin said President Assad knew the Palmyra operation “would have been impossible without Russia’s support”.
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A general view taken on March 27, 2016 shows part of the remains of the Arc de Triomph (Triumph Arc) monument that was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in October 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of PalmyraImage copyrightAFP
The remains of the Arch of Triumph, a nearly 2,000-year-old monument blown up by IS militants in October 2015
A general view taken on March 27, 2016 shows part of the ancient city of Palmyra, after government troops recaptured the UNESCO world heritage site from the Islamic State (IS) groupImage copyrightAFP
Palmyra was one of the “most important cultural centres of the ancient world”, Unesco says
IS seized the Unesco World Heritage site and modern town in May 2015. Soon after, they killed the archaeologist who looked after the ruins for 40 years.
Palmyra is situated in a strategically important area on the road between the capital, Damascus, and the contested eastern city of Deir al-Zour.
When IS seized the city it destroyed archaeological sites, provoking global outrage. Two 2,000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers were left in ruins.
The jihadist group, which has also demolished several pre-Islamic sites in neighbouring Iraq, believes that such structures are idolatrous.
A general view shows the remains of the entrance to the iconic Temple of Bel that was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in September 2015 in the ancient city of Palmyra, after government troops recaptured the UNESCO world heritage site from the IS group on March 27, 201Image copyrightAFP
Remains of the entrance to the Temple of Bel, destroyed by IS in September 2015
INTERACTIVEUse the slider below to compare before and after imagesSeptember 2015August 2015European Space Imaging, Digital Globe
A view shows a damaged artefact at the entrance of the museum of the historic city of Palmyra, after forces loyal to SyriaImage copyrightReuters
A damaged artefact at the entrance of Palmyra museum
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said at least 400 IS fighters were killed in the battle for Palmyra.
In a statement released on Saturday, Russia’s defence ministry said its strikes hit 158 IS targets, killing more than 100 militants.
Ancient city of Palmyra
This file photo taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens riding their bicycles in the ancient oasis city of PalmyraImage copyrightAFP/Getty
Unesco World Heritage site
Site contains monumental ruins of great city, once one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world
Art and architecture, from the 1st and 2nd centuries, combine Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences
More than 1,000 columns, a Roman aqueduct and a formidable necropolis of more than 500 tombs made up the archaeological site
More than 150,000 tourists visited Palmyra every year before the Syrian conflict