IS seizes central Syrian town of Qaryatain
The radical militants of Sunni Islamist militant group Islamic State (IS) have seized Qaryatain, a key town in central Syria. It was seized following heavy clashes with Syrian forces.
It is IS’s biggest advance after it had captured the historic town of Palmyra in May 2015.
The town of Qaryatain lies southwest of Palmyra and it is heavily populated town with a mixed population of around 40,000 Sunni Muslims and Christians, as well as thousands or internally displaced people.
Qaryatain lies midway between the cities of Palmyra, Homs and Damascus and is home to towering Roman ruins. Its capture gives the IS group strategic link up to areas under its control around and in Palmyra with areas in the eastern countryside of Qalamoun in Damascus province of Syria.