IBTimes UK

A Russian orchestra conducted a surprise concert in the amphitheatre in Syria's Palmyra, which had been destroyed by the Islamic Sate militant groups.

The Mariinsky Theatre staged the special show just a month after Russian air strikes drove the Islamic State militants out of the city.

Russian and Syrian military personnel and locals attended the performance, Reuters reported.

Valery Gergiev, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin and Sergei Roldugin, a cellist friend of the president were at the orchestra.

The Isis captured the ancient city in May last year, looted many artefacts and desecrated it, destroying monuments such as the Temple of Baalshamin, the Temple of Bel, seven tower tombs, a large Lion goddess statue and two Islamic shrines.

They used its ancient theatre as a venue for public executions and also murdered the city's former antiquities chief. Palmyra was a Roman city that sat on the crossroad of many cultures.

Putin said the concert was a surprise, adding that terrorism needs to be wiped out. "Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing. That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much," Putin said addressing the audience by video link from his Russian Black Sea residence.

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