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First group of Russian sappers arrive in recaptured Palmyra

March 10, 12:12 UTC+3
New robotized complexes and specially trained dogs are used in clearing the city from mines and explosives
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© REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. The first team of 187 servicemen of the International Demining Center of the Russian Armed Forces arrived in recaptured Palmyra; the sappers have begun working already, Head of the Main Operations Department at the Russian General Staff Sergei Rudskoi said on Friday.

"For demining of Palmyra's territory, liberated from terrorists, in Syria has arrived the first team of the International Demining Center of the Russian Armed Forces. The team is of 187 people, using 32 special vehicles," he said. "New robotized complexes and specially trained dogs are used in clearing the city from mines and explosives."

Earlier, Syrian engineers began demining the territory.

The Russian general said Russia invites all countries to join Palmyra’s demining.

"We address all the involved countries to participate in demining of the global history’s monuments in Palmyra," he said.

Syrian army continues to advance eastward after Palmyra’s liberation

 After the liberation of Palmyra, Syrian government troops have continued their offensive east of the city expanding the safety zone northward and southward, according to Rudskoi.

"After taking control of the city of Palmyra, the Syrian government troops continue the offensive east of the city and, seizing the dominant heights, are expanding the security zone northward and southward," Rudskoi said.

Militants of the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) captured Palmyra in May 2015. The city was liberated from terrorists by the Syrian army with the assistance from Russia’s Aerospace Forces on March 27, 2016. Russian field engineers were later involved in efforts to demine the city and the ancient monuments located in the vicinity. At that time, the engineers cleared 825 hectares, 8,500 buildings as they demined about 18,000 explosive units. Last December, Palmyra was again in the hands of extremists. On March 2, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the operation to liberate the city had been completed. Rudskoi later told a press briefing that the operation to recapture Palmyra from Islamic State militants was planned and conducted under the supervision of Russian military advisers.

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