15:22 GMT +320 April 2019
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    Russian Mi-24p helicopters strike to positions of fighters in 20 kilometers from the city of Palmyra

    On the Way to Freeing Palmyra: Syrian Warplanes Battering Daesh in Homs

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    Assisted by Russian forces, the Syrian Air Force has launched airstrikes at militant strongholds close to Palmyra ahead of an operation to free the world-famous ancient ruins, the Fars news agency reported.

    The media outlet did not provide additional information on what the offensive is expected to take place.

    ​Damascus-led forces carried out missions in al-Sukhneh, al-Sawaneh and Khneifis in the province of Homs, killing an unspecified number of terrorists and destroying militant infrastructure.

    The Russian aircraft "pounded the defense lines of the ISIL terrorist group around Palmyra on Tuesday morning in preparation for a large-scale attack to take back the ancient city," the Fars news agency reported, using an acronym for the organization also known as Daesh.

    On the way to the Temple of Ba'al in Palmyra, Syria
    On the way to the Temple of Ba'al in Palmyra, Syria

    The ancient city of Palmyra, home to monumental ruins and priceless antiquities, has been on the verge of total destruction since May, when militants, notorious for reducing cultural sites to rubble, captured the strategically important city.

    Although militants did not level Palmyra then, they have since destroyed several ancient monuments and are unlikely to stop.

    The Temple of Bel, the Baalshamin temple and the Arch of Triumph are among the priceless pieces of ancient art which have already been lost. The temples were destroyed in August and the gateway built by the Romans was blown up in October.

    Daesh has also used the site for mass executions.

    Topic:
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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    Tags:
    Daesh, Russian aerial campaign, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, counterterrorism, airstrike, Palmyra, Syria
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