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Russian Defense Ministry says IS militants carrying explosives to Palmyra

February 13, 8:15 UTC+3

The terrorists plan to inflict maximum damage on architectural landmarks before leaving the city

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© EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. The Islamic State terror group (IS, outlawed in Russia) militants plan to deliver explosives to Syria’s Palmyra in order to inflict maximum damage on architectural landmarks before leaving the city, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

"While the Syrian troops have been advancing towards Palmyra, Russian unmanned aerial vehicles detected an increase in the movement of terrorists’ trucks in the Palmyra area which indicates their plans to deliver explosives to the city in order to destroy as many architectural landmarks as possible before they leave the city," the statement reads.

The Russian Defense Ministry has uploaded a video on its YouTube channel proving the IS militants’ destructive activities in Palmyra. "The video shows that terrorists have already destroyed the central part of the ancient Roman amphitheater and the columns of the Tetrapylon, a building constructed in 270 AD," the Russian Defense Ministry elaborated.

Terrorists earlier destroyed the Arch of Triumph, the Lion of al-Lat statue, the temples of Baal Shamin and Bel and three best preserved funerary towers.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said that in September 2016, Russian topographers and archeologists together with experts from the defense ministry had conducted an aerial photography mission in ancient Palmyra developing 3D models of the local architectural landmarks and drawing up a detailed site plan. "All this helps understand what the ancient city was like before the recent barbarous attacks," the ministry stressed.

Battle of Palmyra

The Islamic State terrorists took Palmyra, located 240 kilometers from Damascus, in May 2015, but in late March 2016 the city was liberated by the Syrian troops supported by the Russian Aerospace Force. However, terrorists recaptured the city. The Syrian media reported about the destruction of the Roman amphitheater and the Tetrapylon on January 20.

The Syrian government forces have been carrying out an offensive recently in order to liberate the city once again.

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