FIRST AIRED: May 23, 2017

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the beginning of the collapse of Islamic state these were the words a serious military command hailing a significant victory over the group government forces on Sunday saying they have taken full control of the city of Palmyra , UNESCO world heritage site flashpoint in the Syrian war , the recapture of Palmyra followed by three weeks campaign by the army , reported by the Russians it's been carrying out intensive air strikes and artillery bombardment , observers say Islamic state fighters retreated eastward on Sunday morning leading president Bashar al Assad in control , it's a strategic victory for the government , opening up here in eastern desert towards a militant group heartland , Islamic state fighters took control of Palmyra in may last year , experts say their biggest single defeat group declared a caliphate in two thousand and fourteen , and one of the most significant victories against Islamic state yet , along with the recent recapture of Ramadi by Iraqi forces the retaking of Palmyra could mark a significant shift in the battle against the militant