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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Aviation, Special Forces Play Key Role in Crushing Daesh Near Palmyra

Sputnik News

13:54 03.03.2017(updated 17:55 03.03.2017)

Russia's Aerospace Forces and Special Operations Forces played the key role in decimating Daesh terrorists in the battle for Palmyra, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate, said on Friday.

"Russian aviation and Special Operations Forces were instrumental in battering Daesh in the Palmyra area," he said.

He noted that the operation involved advanced Ka-52 helicopters which demonstrated high efficiency in the conditions of desert and mountains.

"The city has been completely liberated. Syrian government troops have taken the dominant terrain to the north and south of Palmyra and are advancing eastward," Rudskoi said.

He said Syrian combat engineers are checking building for explosives.

"Syrian combat engineers, trained by Russian specialists, have started defusing mines and explosives left by the terrorists," he said.

Rudskoi underscored that the success in Palmyra was achieved despite Daesh constantly getting reinforcements from Mosul and Raqqa.

"The militants lost over 1,000 people (dead and wounded). Nineteen battle tanks, 37 armored vehicles, 98 pickup trucks with mounted heavy weaponry, and over 100 cars were destroyed," he said.

He further pointed out that Russian jets have not delivered airstrikes on historic monuments that have not yet been destroyed by the terrorist group in order to preserve the ancient city's legacy.

"The results achieved were made possible thanks to the combined effective planning and timely concentrated efforts between the command of the Russian group in Syria and the Syrian armed forces," he stressed.

Rudskoi said the operation had been planned by Russian military advisers.

The Syrian Army regained control over Palmyra earlier on Thursday with support of the Russian aircraft operating in Syria.

Daesh seized Palmyra, which was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire, in May 2015. Terrorists destroyed a number of historic sights designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel. Jihadists also looted the national museum and the famous Palmyra's necropolis.

Less than a year after that the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces managed to liberate Palmyra. Russian specialists demined the historic center as well as residential areas of the city. Russian historians and renovators visited Palmyra in early July 2016 and prepared a report assessing the condition of the damaged sites and costs of the renovation works. However, in December 2016, the city was retaken by jihadists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the December Daesh offensive on Palmyra. According to the Russian leader, the situation in Palmyra was a result of discordant actions of different players in Syria.

Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.

Moscow has been conducting a counter-terrorist campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar Assad's request.


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