Islamic State seizes more than half of Syria

The Islamic State has seized more than half of Syria after taking full control of the town of Palmyra and its ancient ruins, activists said Thursday.


The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the extremists had seized more than 36,000 square miles of the country and had also taken control of “the vast majority” of its gas and oil fields. USA TODAY could not independently confirm the information.


The human rights group’s Rami Abdurrahman said the extremists took control of the archaeological site to the southwest of Palmyra early Thursday, the Associated Press reported. The United Nations describes the site as “one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.”


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