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Syrian army expands security zone around Palmyra — General Staff

Russian sappers have cleared near 1,000 buildings and apartment houses in Palmyra

MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/. The Syrian army and militias supporting it have expanded the security zone around Palmyra, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy told a news briefing on Tuesday.

"In the area of Palmyra the Syrian army and militias supporting it keep expanding the security zone around the city. Government troops have moved forward 16 kilometers northeast, eight kilometers east and twelve kilometers southeast," he said.

Russian sappers have cleared 18 facilities, 940 buildings and apartment houses defusing 1,800 various bombs in Palmyra.

"The detachment of the Russian Armed Forces’ International Mine Action Center continues work to clear Palmyra of landmines and explosive objects. To date, Russian specialists have cleared 18 socially significant facilities, 940 buildings and apartment houses on a territory of more than 445 hectares, 46 kilometers of roads defusing more than 1,800 explosive objects and improvised explosive devices," he said.

The Russian military is using Uran-6 mine-clearing robots and dogs to carry out complex missions and search for booby-traps.

"I would like to once again to urge all interested countries to take part in the operation to demine historical monuments located in Palmyra," Rudskoi added.

The city was liberated from the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) on March 2, and on March 10 Russia’s General Staff reported that the first detachment of nearly 200 Russian sappers arrived in Palmyra.