Amman: United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon Saturday welcomed the removal of Islamic State jihadists from Syria's ancient Palmyra, calling for the site to be protected for future generations.
In a news conference in Jordan, Ban said he was "encouraged" that the UNESCO world heritage site is out of extremist hands and that the Syrian government "is now able to preserve and protect this human common cultural asset".
He called on "all the people around the world to protect and preserve this common asset of humanity."
IS seized Palmyra in May last year and destroyed the grand Temple of Bel, the shrine of Baal Shamin and several funerary towers which the jihadists consider blasphemous.
Syrian government forces recaptured the city today.
Known to Syrians as the "Pearl of the Desert", Palmyra boasted temples, colonnaded alleys and elaborately decorated tombs that were some of the best preserved classical monuments in the Middle East.