The Big Picture

Return to Palmyra

Syrians returned to the destroyed city of Palmyra this week after being forced to flee almost a year ago during intense fighting. With the city now free of Islamic State fighters, the government allowed time for residents to salvage their belongings. The demolished UNESCO-listed ancient ruins are unaccessible to the public as the Russian military teams clear the site of hundreds of mines left by the militants.--By Leanne Burden Seidel
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A Russian army sapper demines the territory in the historical part of Palmyra, Syria, April 7. According to reports, Russian army sappers are taking part in an operation to defuse mines planted by the Islamic State militant in the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra. Experts have reportedly removed 1500 mines from the city recaptured by the Syrian troops on March 27. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defence Ministry via EPA)
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The Palmyra citadel is seen in the background as Syrian families load their belongings onto a bus in the town of Palmyra in the central Homs province, Syria. Thousands of residents of this ancient town who fled Islamic State rule are returning briefly to check on their homes and salvage what they can -some carpets, blankets, a fridge or a few family mementos. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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Syrian families wait to load their belongings onto a bus in the town of Palmyra in central Homs province, Syria. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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A view of the Great Colonnade in the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria on April 9. Syrian troops backed by Russian forces recaptured Palmyra on March 27, after a fierce battle to rescue the city from jihadists who view the UNESCO-listed site’s magnificent ruins as idolatrous. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
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Residents carry belongings they collected from their damaged homes as they walk during a return visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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A Syrian man inspects his home upon his return to the modern town of Palmyra, adjacent to the ancient Syrian city, on April 9. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrian army soldiers stand on the ruins of the Temple of Bel in the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria, April 1. The Fakhreddin’s Castle is seen in the background. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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A Syrian man carries a carpet as he walks through a devastated part of the town of Palmyra as families load their belongings onto a bus in the central Homs province, Syria. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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A general view shows Syrian families returning to the town of Palmyra. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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A Syrian girl waits for her family to load their belongings onto a bus in the town of Palmyra. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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Photographers take pictures of the damaged Palmyra citadel in the central Homs province, Syria, April 14. Russian combat engineers are in Syria on a mission to clear mines in Palmyra. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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Women react to damage as they visit the city of Palmyra, Syria, April 9. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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A pile of rubble where explosives from the Islamic State group leveled the stone walls and most of the Roman columns supporting the triumphal arches of the city gate in Palmyra, Syria, April 2. (Bryan Denton/The New York Times)
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A Russian army sapper works at the historic part of Palmyra, Syria on April 9. (Russian Ministry of Defence)
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A Syrian boy waits his for family to load their belongings onto a bus in the town of Palmyra in the central Homs province, Syria. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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A woman reacts after seeing her damaged home during her visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria, April 9. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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Women carry belongings they collected from their damaged houses as they get into into a bus after their visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria on April 9. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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A Syrian Army soldier poses inside his damaged house during his visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9. (OMAR SANADIKI)
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A journalist stands at the remains of the Temple of Bel in the historic city of Palmyra, Syria. April 1. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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Syrians inspect their homes upon their return to the modern town of Palmyra, adjacent to the ancient Syrian city, on April 9. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
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Syrians look through a window after they loaded their belongings onto a bus in the town of Palmyra, Syria. Thousands of residents of this ancient town who fled Islamic State rule are returning briefly to check on their homes. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press)
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A view shows the damage at the Monumental Arch in the historical city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria, April 1. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)
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