MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian sappers have begun clearing bombs planted by ousted Islamists around the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor in order to allow relief supplies to get in, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.
"Experts from the International Mine Action Center are focusing primarily on removing landmines from roads leading to the city’s social infrastructure, hospitals, water and electric facilities," the statement read.
"A contingent of over 170 personnel of Russia’s International Mine Action Center, 40 special-purpose and engineering vehicles, and 10 mine-sweeping teams has been deployed to Syria," the ministry said.
The preliminary estimate is that Russian experts will have to remove explosive devices from up to 1,500 hectares (1,200 acres) of territory around the city of Deir ez-Zor.
Over the first few days after their arrival, sappers carried out controlled detonation of 1,500 "explosive objects," including a hundred improvised explosive devices, demining 8 kilometers (5 miles) of roads, eight buildings and 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of land.