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Syria's Palmyra Retaken, Russian Airstrikes Avoided Monuments - Russian MoD

Sputnik News

18:42 28.03.2016(updated 19:58 28.03.2016)

Syrian government forces and patriotic militias have retaken from terrorists most of the ancient city of Palmyra with support of Russian airstrikes which avoided targeting historical monuments, the commander of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said Monday.

HMEYMIM (Sputnik) – The Syrian army confirmed Sunday that it had liberated the historic city of Palmyra from Daesh terrorist group with support of national aviation and Russian Aerospace Forces.

"The Syrian government forces supported by people's militia and Russian airstrikes have liberated the ancient city of Palmyra," Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko told reporters, adding that some clashes with remaining terrorists were taking place in the southern outskirts of the city.

"Russian airstrikes have not targeted the areas of Palmyra where ancient monuments are located. Special forces personnel carried out target-designation to avoid the destruction of Palmyra monuments and civilian-populated areas," Kuralenko stressed.

Palmyra, located 210 kilometers away from Damascus, is considered key for advancing to the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria. The town of Palmyra and its historic ruins have been under Daesh control since May 2015.

The terrorist group has since destroyed part of the historic sites, which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

A unit of Russian sappers is on the way to Syria to take part in the demining of Palmyra, which was recently retaken from the Islamic State by Russia-backed Syrian forces, head of the Russian reconciliation center in Syria Sergei Kuralenko said Monday.

"A group of leading Russian experts will arrive at the Hmeymim airbase and begin work shortly," Kuralenko told reporters.

"Russian experts will arrive in the Syrian Arab Republic with all necessary equipment, including demining robots. Moreover, mine detection dogs from the International Mine Action Center will take part in the demining of Palmyra," he added.

According to Kuralenko, a significant part of Palmyra's historical monuments has been destroyed, while the rest has been mined.

The Russian center for Syrian reconciliation at the Hmeymim airbase registered nine violations of the ceasefire regime in three Syrian provinces in the last 24 hours, the commander of the center said Monday.

"A total of nine violations of the ceasefire regime have been registered in the past 24 hours, including four each in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces, and one – in the Latakia province," Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko told reporters.

Local residents have reported that over 50 militants and three trucks with ammunition have arrived in Syria's Aleppo province from Turkey, Russia's Defense Ministry said Monday.

"According to incoming information from the residents of Aleppo, over 50 militants and three trucks with ammunition have arrived in Anadan to reinforce al-Nusra Front units," the ministry said in a statement.


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