'Block and Destroy': Anti-Daesh Operation Underway Northwest of Syrian Palmyra

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – An operation to block and destroy a large group of Daesh (terrorist group, banned in Russia) is currently underway in the Syrian town of Akerbat northwest of Palmyra, the Russian General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said Monday.

“An operation to block and destroy a large Daesh group is underway near the city of Akerbat. An offensive is progressing successfully in southern Syria,” Rusdkoy said.

On March 2, the Syrian government forces regained control over Palmyra with the support of the Russian aircraft operating in Syria. The operation was carried out with minimal losses among the anti-terrorist troops.

Daesh seized Palmyra, which was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire, in May 2015. Terrorists destroyed a number of historic sights designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Arch of Triumph, the Temple of Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel. Jihadists also looted the national museum and the famous Palmyra’s necropolis.

Less than a year after that the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces managed to liberate Palmyra. Russian specialists demined the historic center as well as residential areas of the city. Russian historians and renovators visited Palmyra in early July 2016 and prepared a report assessing the condition of the damaged sites and costs of the renovation works. However, in December 2016, the city was retaken by jihadists.

Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Voskresenskiy

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