The Syrian army said on Thursday it was closing in on Islamic State militants in control of Palmyra, in a major offensive to recapture the city of Roman ruins from the jihadists.

A newsflash on state television quoted a Syrian army source as saying its forces were in the vicinity of the city.

Footage showed tank and artillery shelling of distant targets in the largely desert terrain.

“The units of the army had delivered concentrated hits to the terrorists’ hideouts and killed many of them,” an army statement said. […]