Europe

Activists: Syrian pro-government forces near IS-held Palmyra

  • Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and head of the government delegation Bashar Ja’afari, right, arrives for a meeting of Syria peace talks with Syrian government delegation at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Xu Jinquan/Pool Photo via AP)

    Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and head of the government delegation Bashar Ja’afari, right, arrives for a meeting of Syria peace talks with Syrian government delegation at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Xu Jinquan/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • General view at the start of a meeting between UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, second from right, and Syrian government delegation during Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Xu Jinquan/Pool Photo via AP)

    General view at the start of a meeting between UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, second from right, and Syrian government delegation during Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Xu Jinquan/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bashar al-Ja'afari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, arrives for take part to a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    Bashar al-Ja'afari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, arrives for take part to a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Syrian activists say pro-government forces have reached the outskirts of Palmyra in their push to drive Islamic State militants from the ancient town.

It's the Syrian government forces second such offensive this year.

The activist-run Palmyra Coordination Committee says Syrian forces and their allies from the Lebanese Shiite militant Hezbollah group and Iranian advisers are at the town's western gateway, located about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the famed Roman ruins.

The activist group also reported there were airstrikes across the town on Tuesday morning. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Hezbollah's media outlets also reported the advances.

The government lost control of Palmyra in December, less than one year after it reclaimed the town from IS extremists. Archeologists have decried the damage to Palmyra's priceless ruins.