BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian activists say that Islamic State extremists have seized almost full control of the ancient town of Palmyra, though it remained unclear how close to the famed archaeological site they have come.
A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows a partial view of the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)
The Syrian Observatory for human rights reported that government forces collapsed in the face of IS attacks and withdrew from the town late on Wednesday.
A media collective for Palmyra also says that IS was now in control of most of the town.
It's not immediately clear how close the militants are to the ruins, which are just southwest of the town.