Putin, UNESCO Head Hope Int'l Community to Restore Palmyra - Kremlin

© REUTERS / SANA/HandoutA general view shows part of a palace complex, which has been recaptured by Syrian government forces, on the western edge of Palmyra in this picture provided by SANA on March 24, 2016.
A general view shows part of a palace complex, which has been recaptured by Syrian government forces, on the western edge of Palmyra in this picture provided by SANA on March 24, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and UNESCO head Irina Bokova expressed hope on Sunday that efforts by the international community would help restore the Syrian historic city of Palmyra partly ruined and looted by Daesh terrorists, the Kremlin said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the Syrian army supported by militias and Russian Aerospace Forces drove Daesh terrorists out of Palmyra inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Following the liberation, Putin held a phone call with Syrian President Bashar Assad and the UNESCO head.

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The Syrian army’s offensive on the city of Palmyra to recapture it from Daesh terrorists began on Thursday. On Friday, the units of the Syrian army and patriotic militia retook the historic Palmyra Castle from Daesh terrorists.

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 jihadist group, which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia and the United States, has since destroyed part of the historic sites, which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

"[Putin and Bokova] expressed hope that despite barbaric looting by Islamic State [Daesh] terrorists, this treasured heritage will be restored by joint efforts of the international community," the statement said.

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Bokova on her part stressed that UNESCO proceeded with working out options to restore historic monuments and counted on cooperation with Russia's State Hermitage Museum.

According to the press service, Putin expressed hope that international experts would be able to start working on preservation and reconstruction of Palmyra right after the end of demining operations.

Putin said that the Russian Defense Ministry had been instructed to provide maximum support to Syria in demining Palmyra.

"The Russian Defense Ministry has received an order to provide maximum support to the Syrian side in demining the liberated territories taking into account their significance for the world culture."

Assad, on his part, said that Syria hoped for an active participation of the international community in reconstructing Palmyra.

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