01:47 GMT01 March 2021
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    Combat engineers from the International Anti-Mine Center of the Russian Armed Forces have managed to defuse more than 120 explosive devices in the Syrian city of Palmyra within the first five hours of work, commander of the unit Colonel Valery Ovdiyenko told Sputnik.

    Bomb squads from the Russian Armed Forces' International Anti-Mine Center continue demining operations in the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, which has recently been liberated from Daesh terrorists, according to commander of the unit Colonel Valery Ovdiyenko.

    "Works are organized on the outskirts of the city and in its historical part. During the first five to six hours of the demining process, more than 120 explosive devices were defused by the personnel," he said in an interview with Sputnik.

    He said that the sappers use Korshun (Kite) mine detectors in their as well as mine detection dogs, which help them track down the explosives. He added that the combat engineers are due to check out about 900 hectares of territory in Palmyra within a month and a half.

    Ovdiyenko drew specific attention to the fact that the mined objects in Palmyra include a whole array of historic sites.

    Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said that more than 150 Russian engineers and 17 pieces of equipment have been deployed to Syria for mine clearance operations in Palmyra.

    The International Anti-Mine Center of the Russian Armed Forces is equipped with modern demining and protection kits, including IMP-2S selective portable inductive mine detectors, portable detectors for finding the control wiring circuits of explosive devices (PIPL), INVU-3M portable detectors of non-contact explosive devices and OVR-2 mine clearing ultra-service sets.

    On March 2, the Syrian government forces regained control over Palmyra with the support of the Russian aircraft operating in Syria. The operation was carried out with minimal losses among the anti-terrorist troops.

    Daesh seized Palmyra, which was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire, in May 2015. Terrorists destroyed a number of historic sights designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel. Jihadists also looted the national museum and the famous Palmyra’s necropolis.

    Less than a year after that the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces managed to liberate Palmyra. Russian specialists demined the historic center as well as residential areas of the city. Russian historians and renovators visited Palmyra in early July 2016 and prepared a report assessing the condition of the damaged sites and costs of the renovation works. However, in December 2016, the city was retaken by jihadists.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the December Daesh offensive on Palmyra. According to the Russian leader, the situation in Palmyra was a result of discordant actions of different players in Syria.

    Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.

    Moscow has been conducting a counter-terrorist campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar Assad's request.

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