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    Russian army sappers work at the historic part of Palmyra, Syria, in this photo released by Russian Ministry of Defence on April 9, 2016

    Russia Will Send Deminers to Liberated Palmyra

    © REUTERS / Russian Ministry of Defence
    Middle East
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    Russian deminers will arrive in Syria's Palmyra, the Russian Defense Ministry's center for Syrian reconciliation said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On March 2, the Syrian army backed by the Russian military aircraft operating in Syria regained control over Palmyra.

    "The Defense Ministry's leadership has decided to send to Palmyra servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces' international mine action center. They are expected to arrive soon," the center's chief Alexey Kim said.

    He praised the efforts of the Syrian military who in December 2016 prior to the attack of the Islamic State jihadist group, outlawed in Russia, evacuated almost 90 percent of all Palmyra residents.

    "Before leaving the city, the terrorists again mined and planned to destroy a significant part of the historic monuments and the remaining buildings. Thankfully to the prompt and swift actions of the government’s troops, the plans were disrupted. Now the Syrian sappers that were trained by Russian specialists in the demining center in Aleppo, are clearing the buildings and the objects of cultural heritage in Palmyra from mines and improvised explosive devises," the Russian military official said.

    Daesh first captured Palmyra in May 2015. In the ten months that followed, the brutal group, notorious for destroying pre-Islamic cultural heritage sites, leveled the Temple of Bel, the Temple of Baalshamin, the Monumental Arch and several tomb towers. Some of the priceless artifacts on display at a local museum were smashed or defaced.

    The Syrian Arab Army, assisted by Russian warplanes and its allies took Palmyra under control on March 27, 2016, but lost it on December 11.  However, the jihadists later succeeded to drive out the Syrian government forces in December 2016 after a large-scale offensive.


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