A second group of Russian sappers has arrived in Hmeimim air base along an Uran-6 robotic systems and other armored vehicles to take part in demining operations in Palmyra, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said on Friday.
“The second group of specialists of the Russian Armed Forces’ international anti-mine center, Uran-6 robotic demining systems and armored vehicles equipped with suppressors of radio-controlled fuses and radio-controlled explosive devices have arrived at the Hmeimim aerodrome in the Syrian Arab Republic. The convoy of military engineers will soon march to the target area of demining infrastructure facilities and historical part of the city of Palmyra,” the ministry said.
Yesterday, the first group of Russian sappers from the Russian Armed Forces’ international anti-mine center arrived in Syria. According to a TASS source, more than 100 sappers will take part in the demining operation. The operation will take several months at the very least, the source added.
The head of the main operations directorate of the Russian General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, said that more than 180 hectares will be demined in the historic city of Palmyra.
“Demining works are complicated by the fact that apart from standard industrially manufactured mines, terrorist groups left in Palmyra many hand-made explosive devices,” he said.
Rudskoy confirmed the Uran-6 will be employed in the most difficult areas.
1,230 mines rendered harmless in Palmyra
Lieutenant Qassen Shpib of the Syrian engineer troops engaged in demining efforts told reporters on Friday that more than 1,230 mines have been rendered harmless in Palmyra at this time.
“We have already gained experience, but now we are facing a major problem – the clearance of houses and apartments, where the militants have left suicide bomber’s belts and explosives. We are awaiting assistance from our Russian colleagues to deal with it,” Shpib said.
According to Shpib, militants of Islamic State completely mined the entrance to the city.
“The entry to the city is completely mined, which is unexpected for us. The terrorists dug holes in the asphalt, laid mines in them, and then covered them with concrete. We have had to blow all this up. There were also mines set off by the militants remotely”, he said.
The Russian Armed Forces’ international anti-mine center will cooperate and help the Syrian sappers in clearing the mines. The residential sectors and the approach routes to Palmyra will also be demined around the historic city.