MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian forces in the Syrian town of Palmyra are de facto playing the role of peacekeepers, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday.
"Today — I would like to underline this — our forces are mostly playing the role of not just soldiers, but peacekeepers, providing assistance to Syrian authorities in restoring normal life," Antonov told reporters.
He specified that Russia was providing Syrian civilians with food and water, and added that Russian combat engineers had already demined most of Palmyra. They finished demining the city's historical part last week.
The Syrian army, supported by Russian aircraft, completely liberated the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh terrorists in late March. The terrorist group, which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia, has destroyed part of Palmyra's historic ruins, which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, while controlling the city for nearly a year. UNESCO unanimously approved a Russian resolution on the restoration of Palmyra.