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ISIS

France: ‘World must act over threat to Palmyra’

French President Francois Hollande on Thursday said the world must respond to Islamic State jihadists' seizure of Palmyra amid fears they could destroy the Syrian city's world renowned ancient monuments.

France: 'World must act over threat to Palmyra'
The ancient city of Palmyra whose archaeological treasures are threatened by Isis. Photo: AFP

Referring to the Islamic State group by its Arabic name, Hollande said: “We have to act because there is a threat against these monuments which are part of humankind's inheritance and at the same time we must act against Daesh,” 

“It is really upsetting when a site of such riches which belongs to all of humanity falls into the hands of a terrorist group,” he added, as he arrived at an EU-Eastern Partnership summit in the Latvian capital Riga.

UNESCO warned earlier that the destruction of the ancient city would be “an enormous loss to humanity”.

The capture of Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old metropolis from the Roman era, reportedly means IS now controls more than half of Syria at a time when it is also expanding its territory in neighbouring Iraq.

There, IS sparked international outrage this year when it blew up the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and smashed artefacts in the Mosul museum.

The fear now is the extremists will do the same in Palmyra.

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ISIS

Macron says Isis defeat removes ‘significant threat’ to France

President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the fall of the last bastion held by Islamic State (Isis) jihadists in Syria removed a source of potential terror attacks against France by fighters based in the so-called "caliphate".

Macron says Isis defeat removes 'significant threat' to France
Photo: AFP

“A significant threat to our country” has been “eliminated”, Macron said on Twitter, while warning that “the threat remains and the fight against terrorist groups must continue.”

Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old “caliphate” on Saturday, after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where diehard jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.

The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of the caliphate which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, and held seven million people in its sway.    

READ ALSO: French 'Isis bride' recalls Islamic state 'chaos'

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