In May 2015, when the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra was captured by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) the western media foreshadowed worst-case scenarios for the people of the city and the Roman ruins situated there.

The fall of Palmyra in that respect is a great propaganda coup for outlets such as RT because it allows them to fuel this narrative, this false narrative, that they’re at the forefront of helping Assad and therefore the world combat the scourge of Islamic State.

Shiraz Maher, King's College London and senior research fellow at ICSR

But when President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian warplanes, liberated the city late last month, western news outlets gave the story short shrift - despite the blow taken by ISIL and what it means for the Syrian civil war.

In stark contrast was the coverage beaming out of Russia. Domestic media there as well as international outlets in Russia - such as RT and Sputnik - gave the story extensive treatment, making the case that Palmyra may serve to vindicate President Vladimir Putin's intervention in a war for which the West, as the Russians like to say, has run out of answers.

The divergent news narratives would have come as no surprise to the Russian president himself, whose spokesman told Russian state TV that the Kremlin is fighting an "information war" with what he described as the "Anglo-Saxon media".

Talking us through the Palmyra story and this media divide are: Oksana Boyko, RT presenter; Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute; Sameh Habeeb, journalist; and Shiraz Maher, King's College London and senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence.

Source: Al Jazeera