The Islamic State (IS) group has retaken the Syrian city of Palmyra, hours after Russian air strikes appeared to have driven it back.
The governor of Homs province, Talal Barazi, said government forces were now regrouping outside the ancient city, preparing to launch a fresh assault.
IS held the city from May 2015 until it was forced out in March this year.
Correspondents say IS appears to have taken advantage of the government’s focus on Aleppo, further north.
Mr Barazi confirmed the withdrawal from Palmyra but insisted “the army is using all means to prevent the terrorists from staying”.
Activists in the city said militants were going door to door looking for any remaining forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.