VIDEO: Syrian People Returning to Liberated Towns of Palmyra & Qaryatain

Sat Apr 9, 2016 18:02:49

People are returning to the war-ravaged ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and nearby Qaryatain to start their life anew after it was freed from the Islamic State (IS) group on March 27 and landmines they planted were removed.

The Syrian army recaptured the city following intense battle against the ISIS group, which had controlled the city since last May.

Reporters who are following the clear up operation with the Russian Defense Ministry can only observe the situation from the embrasure of armored cars, as danger still exists on the ground.

Since ISIS regarded the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) as a stronghold before their flight, a great amount of ammunition was stored and abandoned around the city, making the removal of landmines a matter of first importance.

A team of Russian army have been working to remove landmines planted all over the city.

""We've found lots of such items as electric switches while removing landmines. Many of them were buried near light switches. After the electricity is connected, it will explode. We will dismantle and destroy all the igniters and the explosives so that people will return to their hometown safely," said Yegor, a Russian soldier."

Despite the devastation of the city, people of the city are looking forward to a new life when the infrastructure is restored.

"We believe that President Bashar al-Assad will keep to his word and bring life in Palmyra to what it used to be," said Abdulla, a local resident.

Also Dozens of Christian Syrians, who had been abducted and terrorised by ISIS group militants, were starting to return to their home town after its recent liberation, British broadcaster Sky News reported.

Syrian troops, with the help of Russian forces, recaptured the central town of Qaryatain earlier this month, from retreating ISIS militants.

Some 270 Christians were held captive by ISIS fighters for 25 days in an underground prison last year until their release as part of a prisoner swap deal.

The residents were slowly returning to their homes and assessing the destruction left behind.

As Russian troops distributed aid to the returnees from their military trucks, some of the residents described their ordeal to Sky.

Among the imprisoned was Bassom Dabbass, says he never expected to be released by the terrorists.

Another local resident says he helped five Christians escape from the hands of ISIS.

Mustafa Shabklakh said he "smuggled" them to Homs and had to flee himself, shortly after, as ISIS fighters found out about his actions.


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