Britain should send the country's leading archaeologists to help restore the ancient city of Palmyra after Russian President Vladimir Putin had exposed the West's "ineffective" response to the Syria crisis by helping liberate it from the so-called Islamic State terrorists, Boris Johnson has said.

The Mayor of London argued that Mr Putin deserved credit for showing "ruthless clarity" in providing Bashar Assad's regime with military backing, reportedly including troops on the ground.

"If Putin's troops have helped winkle the maniacs from Palmyra, then, it pains me to admit, that is very much to the credit of the Russians," said Mr Johnson.

The Conservative MP, writing in his Daily Telegraph column, said Moscow had made the West look relatively ineffective and so now it was now time for the West to make amends and to play to its strengths.

"We have some of the greatest archaeological experts in the world. I hope that the Government will soon be funding them to go to Syria and help the work of restoration.

"It is far cheaper than bombing and more likely to lead to long-term tourism and economic prosperity,” argued Mr Johnson.

"One day Syria's future will be glorious but that will partly depend on the world's ability to enjoy its glorious past. British experts should and will be at the forefront of the project," insisted the outgoing mayor.

The recapture by Syrian government forces of the city, a world heritage site known to Syrians as the "bride of the desert", represents a significant blow to IS.

Experts are set to begin assessing the scale of the damage done to the 2000-year-old ruins with many famous monuments known to have been destroyed.

Mr Johnson wrote that while the regime itself was "evil", "the victory of Assad was a victory for archaeology, a victory for all those who care about the ancient monuments of one of the most amazing cultural sites on earth".

Next month, a replica of the destroyed gateway of the Temple of Bel is due to be raised in Trafalgar Square in a show of solidarity with Palmyra.

"I hope it will also be a sign of our British determination to be useful in the reconstruction of the country," added Mr Johnson.