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Coalition strike destroys ISIS weapons near Palmyra

US-led coalition aircraft have destroyed heavy weaponry seized by ISIS when they retook the Syrian city of Palmyra from regime forces

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US-led coalition aircraft have destroyed heavy weaponry seized by ISIS when they retook the Syrian city of Palmyra from regime forces over the weekend, officials said Friday.

The strikes on Thursday destroyed an air defense artillery system, 14 tanks, three artillery systems, two ISIS-held buildings and two tactical vehicles, the coalition said in a statement.

Among the Russian weaponry the ISIS captured around Palmyra were thought to be modern surface-to-air missiles, or SAMs, giving militants the potential capability to shoot down coalition jets, a coalition official told AFP.

Earlier on Wednesday, the commander of the coalition forces conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, had said that “anything they (ISIS) seize poses a threat to the coalition, but we can manage those threats and we will.”

Thursday’s attack took place near the Tiyas military airfield near Palmyra, northeast of the fabled city along a highway.

ISIS overran Palmyra on Sunday, nine months after its fighters were expelled by Russian air strikes and forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad.

Militants had initially seized Palmyra in May 2015 and went on to blow up UNESCO-listed Roman-era temples and loot ancient relics.

Before ISIS retook the city, it had been the focus of Russian and Syrian counter-ISIS operations and not an area were the US coalition was particularly active.