15:48 GMT +320 April 2018
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    Syrian army's positions near Palmyra

    The Best is Yet to Come: Syrian Army Ends First Stage of Palmyra Offensive

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    The Syrian government troops and militias on Saturday successfully finished the first stage of their offensive on jihadist-held ancient city of Palmyra, a source in the Syrian command said.

    PALMYRA (Sputnik) — Intense battles between Syrian troops and Daesh terrorists erupted on the city’s outskirts earlier this week. Extremists captured the historic city in May 2015, destroying many historic treasures, such as its ancient temples of Bel and Baalshamin.

    "Syrian Army’s artillery and aviation forces did their best today. We consider the first phase of the operation to recapture Palmyra to be completed. Now the infantry will try to get close to the city boundaries," the source told RIA Novosti.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that Palmyra would be returned to the Syrian people at Thursday’s ceremony awarding Russian servicemen for their role in the nearly 6-month anti-terrorist campaign.

    Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said Thursday that the remaining Russian group in Syria “continued to support ground operations conducted by our army to liberate the city of Palmyra in particular.”

    Over the past year, Daesh has seized, looted and destroyed several of the world's most important archaeological and cultural sites, including the ancient Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Related:

    Conditions Created to Ensure Daesh Defeat in Syria’s Palmyra
    Kremlin: Syrian Army Carries Out Palmyra Offensive Without Russian Military
    Official: Syrian Army Close to Liberating Palmyra With Russia's Air Support
    Tags:
    Daesh, Palmyra, Syria
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