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MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. The Syrian army is not abandoning plans to liberate Palmyra from terrorists of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia), Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.
"As far as we know, the Syrian military is not abandoning plans to liberate this town and also other towns from terrorists," Peskov said.
The Kremlin spokesman declined to answer a question about whether Russia would assist the Syrian government forces in liberating Palmyra, readdressing this question to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Peskov added that "the Russian military is continuing to assist Syrians in their struggle against terrorists."
The destroying of the Roman Theater in Palmyra by militants of the Islamic State is a tragic loss of the world cultural heritage, the Kremlin spokesman said.
"What is happening is a real tragedy from the viewpoint of the loss of the world cultural and historical heritage and the terrorists’ barbaric actions are continuing," Peskov said.
Militants of the Islamic State terrorist group have destroyed the facade of the Roman Theater and the Tetrapylon architectural complex in Palmyra. It is not known yet how much architectural monuments have been damaged by the vandals.
Chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday the Russian military had received information on a large amount of explosives being moved to the area of Palmyra as IS terrorists were aiming to destroy historical cultural monuments in the town.
Islamic State militants attacked Palmyra located 240 km from Damascus on December 9 last year. The terrorists also tried to seize oil wells and the military aerodrome in the town’s outskirts. The Syrian government army retreated after fighting from the town’s central part on December 11.
Palmyra was liberated by the Syrian army with the assistance of the Russian air task force in March last year. Russian combat engineers then took part in the demining of the town and ancient monuments there.