When the Syrian army drove the Islamic State from the city of Palmyra, it didn't just hand ISIS a major defeat. It also recaptured an ancient place filled with beautiful relics, a city that Syrians call "the Bride of the Desert."
Many of the historic sites and statues were heavily damaged during the ISIS occupation, which lasted nearly a year. The extremists also beheaded the archaeological site's 81-year-old director, Khaled Asaad, after he reportedly refused to divulge where authorities had hidden treasures before the group swept in.
Syrian opposition groups still oppose the government regime, which was supported by Lebanese militias and Russian airstrikes in the fight for Palmyra. But Syrian President Bashar Assad said that liberating the UNESCO World Heritage Site was an "important achievement" and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Damascus for the victory.
The world is now getting its first up-close look at Palmyra in months, but at some of the sites only rubble remains.