Moscow Says No Russian Ground Forces Involved in Operation for Syria’s Palmyra

Moscow Says No Russian Ground Forces Involved in Operation for Syria’s Palmyra
Fri Mar 18, 2016 20:49:11

Russia says it has no ground troops involved in the operation to liberate Syria's Palmyra and the "advance" to retake the historic city is carried out by the Syrian army.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the advance on Palmyra "is carried out by contingents of the Syrian army."

The Russian official also clarified remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin about Palmyra, which is also known as Tadmur in Arabic.

“The offensive is conducted by Syrian armed forces. What the president said was that the campaign has significantly strengthened the Syrian armed forces, which are now able to independently continue the offensive,” Peskov told reporters.

President Putin on Thursday expressed hope that Palmyra, known as the "Pearl of the Desert" for its historic and archeological value, would be returned to the Syrian people soon.

Social media pages affiliated to the Takfiri terrorist group ISIS, which took control of Palmyra in May 2015, claimed on Friday that the militants had managed to kill five Russian troops near Palmyra.

"Four of the Russian soldiers were killed in Qasr al-Halabat west of Palmyra," said Aamaq, a website linked to ISIS, adding that a Russian adviser had died Thursday in the Dawa area.

S/SH 11

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