An unverified video has emerged purporting to show ISIL militants raising the group’s flag over a government building in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
The country’s antiquities chief maintains the government is still in control of the municipality, but says fighting is ongoing two kilometres away from the world heritage site.
Recent reports suggest ISIL has advanced from eastern strongholds to surround the central Syrian town.
According to UNESCO, Palmyra dates back to the 1st century AD. The UN agency considers it one of the most important cultural sites in the Middle East. ISIL recently destroyed a number of antiquities in northern Iraq. Fears are growing that Palmyra will suffer a similar fate.
Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group claims it and Syrian government forces have pushed fighters from ISIL and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front out of a mountain range in Qalamoun, on the border the country shares with Syria.
Officials in Turkey report the country’s air force has shot down a Syrian helicopter, which is said to have flown into Turkish air space.
Syrian state media refute a helicopter was involved, claiming that it was actually a remote-controlled drone.