May 21, 2015 11:14 AM EDT

After months of fierce fighting, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) captured the town of Palmyra northeast of Syria’s capital Damascus on Thursday, leaving the group in control of more than half of the country’s territory—and raising fears among experts that its fighters will begin smashing spectacular ancient sites.

Read more: ISIS Must Be Stopped From Destroying Ancient City, U.N. Says

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