Drone footage has been released revealing an aerial view of the ancient ruins of Palmyra as Syrian soldiers recaptured parts of the city in their battle against the Islamic State (Isis).

The video, screened by Russian State TV, shows the old citadel and ancient ruins recaptured by the Syrian army. Many of Palmyra's temples and tombs have been dynamited by IS fighters in what the United Nations described as a war crime, although drone footage showed that at least some colonnades and structures, including the theatre, are still standing.

The video also showed damage to ancient ruins of the Roman empire including Temple of Bel and Temple of Baalshamin, destroyed by IS fighters who had controlled the city since May 2015.

Palmyra
The ancient ruins of Palmyra were retaken by Syrian soldiers from Isis on 25 MarchRURTV

The recapture of Palmyra would mark the biggest reversal for IS in Syria since Russia's intervention turned the tide of the five-year conflict in President Bashar al-Assad's favour. The city controls routes east into heartland territory held by the militants, including the province of Deir al-Zor and ISIS' de facto capital in Raqqa.

Since 25 March, the scale of fighting for Palmyra reflects how much of a strategic prize the city represents, with jets launching dozens of airstrikes and soldiers firing mortar barrages, while Isis fighters hit back with two car bombings.

Russian war planes have continued to back up the Syrian army and its allies, despite Moscow's recent announcement that it was withdrawing the bulk of its military forces. Its planes carried out 41 sorties between 22-24 March in support of the Palmyra offensive and destroyed 146 targets, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.