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MOSCOW, May 2. /TASS/. The General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces is contemplating the possibility of demining other Syrian cities once the operation in Palmyra is completed, a military-diplomatic source in the Russian capital has told TASS.
"Such a possibility is not ruled out, and the General Staff is working on this issue. Multiple planning is underway with due account for the possible development of the situation in this or that direction," the source said.
He noted though that Russian sappers first need to complete the demining operation in Palmyra. "At least one and a half or two months are needed to complete the operation," he added.
According to the source, it is also necessary to receive a request from the Syrian authorities. "We also need a formal request from the legitimate Syrian government to expand the area of mine clearance in the country," he said.
Russian specialists have been involved in the demining activities in Palmyra since April 2. With this aim in view, a demining unit of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Mine Action Center has been brought to Syria by Russia’s military transport aviation aircraft. As of April 21, the city’s historical center was fully cleared of mines, the area of 234 hectares was cleared of explosive ordnance as well as 23 kilometers of roads and 10 cultural heritage sites. The Russian military began demining Palmyra’s residential area where they are to clear another 560 hectares of mines and ammunition.