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Iran Press TV

Russia ground troops not invloved in Palmyra operation: Kremlin

Iran Press TV

Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:16PM

The Kremlin says Russian ground forces did not participate in the Syrian government's operations to push back the Daesh Takfiri militants from the ancient city of Palmyra.

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, made the remarks in a teleconference with reporters on Monday, saying that Russian Air Force, however, has been assisting the Syrian army and will continue its operations against Takfiri militants in the Arab country.

"Our armed forces are not conducting any land operations there," Peskov said, adding, "After the withdrawal of part of our [military] contingent from Syria, air force units remaining at two bases - in Hmeymim and Tartus - will continue fighting terrorist groups ... and will continue supporting the Syrian army's offensive."

Russia launched an aerial campaign against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists and other militant groups in Syria on September 30, 2015, upon a request from the Damascus government. The air raids have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian forces had been ordered to leave Syria. It came in the wake of a Russia-US brokered cessation of hostilities that has been in place since February 27 and a new round of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Also on Monday, Russia's state TV channel, Rossiya-24, said three heavy attack helicopters, together with a number of engineers and technical staff, left Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria on board an Antonov-124 transport airplane.

A Russian officer at the airbase in the Syrian city of Latakia said that the remaining Russian forces in Syria were enough "to repel at any moment any attack and accomplish any military tasks."

The Russian strikes have drawn criticism from Western governments and their allies in the Middle East, which have been supporting the militants operating in the region.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

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