Russia says its fighter planes struck a terrorist training base near Palmyra in Syria and killed up to 200 militants. In addition, the strike destroyed two shelters, 24 pickup trucks with heavy machine guns, about 500 kilograms of munitions and components for improvised explosive devices.
Addressing the press, Rear Admiral Alexander Karpov, the deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said “According to the information received, militants set up a camouflaged base northeast of Palmyra, where combat groups were formed to send and carry out terrorist attacks in various regions of the country (Syria), as well as the manufacture of improvised explosive devices. After the location of terrorists’ facilities was confirmed through several channels, Russian aircraft delivered air strikes that hit two terrorists’ shelters.”
Karpov said that the militants are plotting terror attack on government institutions in big cities ahead of presidential polls in Syria. “Illegal armed groups plot terror attacks and attacks on government establishments in big cities seeking to destabilize the situation in the country ahead of presidential elections in Syria,” he said.
“Terrorists are being trained at training camps located on territories that are not controlled by the Syrian authorities, including in the US-controlled al-Tanf zone,” he added.
He also said that no shelling attacks by Turkey-controlled illegal armed groups were reported during the past day. However, thirty-three shelling attacks from the positions of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group were registered in the Idlib de-escalation zone. “Thirty-three shelling attacks occurred in the provinces of Idlib (15 attacks), Latakia (12), Aleppo (1) and Hama (5),” Karpov said.
The Russian Defense Ministry has created the Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Control over the Movement of Refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic in February 2016. The center oversees the signing of agreements with illegal armed groups and individual settlements resulting in the cessation of hostilities, as well as coordinating the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Palmyra was the capital of the Palmyrene Empire and one of the richest cities of the Roman Empire. The ancient ruins and monuments of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, lost several important artifacts in the first attack by the Daesh terrorist group (also known as ISIS/ ISIL / IS) in 2015. The Temple of Bel, Temple of Bel-Shamin, Arch of Triumph and columns in the Valley of the Tombs were destroyed by Daesh. The city was briefly captured back by the Syrian government forces, but in December 2016, IS militants recaptured it, further damaging the historic site. The Syrian forces eventually regained control of the city again in March 2017.