'A 30-year-old activist from the anti-Assad Palmyra Revolutionary Coordination Committee, who asked to be referred to as Abdul Majd al-Tadmuri, told Fairfax Media "the regime wants to show the whole world with Russian support that they are the only force that can stand up against IS's barbarity ... but that's not true".
The local opposition group, which started in July 2011 after the revolution against Dr Assad turned bloody, still receives footage from activists on the ground using satellite phones in hidden sites around the city. It said in a statement that Russian raids over a week had destroyed half of Palmyra's infrastructure.
"When Palmyra was invaded in May 2015 by the Islamic State, it was more of a swap between the regime and the terrorists," 'Abdul Majd' said. "The Syrian forces withdrew from their military stronghold in the city centre, the airport, the prison, to the deserted areas outside of the city." '