Putin Hails Syria's Palmyra Recapture
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the recent liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra from the clutches of Daesh (also known as ISIL and ISIS) terrorists.
Putin phoned Syrian President Bashar Assad to personally congratulate him Sunday, the Kremlin said.
"Putin congratulated Assad on Syrian forces successfully completing a large-scale operation to liberate Palmyra with the support of Russian air and space forces," the Kremlin said in a statement, AFP reported.
Assad in turn "expressed gratitude for the effective help given by the Russian ... air forces to Syrian forces," the Kremlin said.
On Sunday, Syrian state television quoted a military source as saying the army had taken "complete control over the city of Palmyra".
Palmyra, known as the "bride of the desert", used to attract tens of thousands of tourists a year before the Syrian conflict started in 2011.
In May 2015, Daesh took the city in a matter of days and later demolished some of its best-known monuments.
Capturing the city is a major victory for President Bashar al-Assad's government.
With Russian support, it has made steady gains in recent months against Daesh and other terrorist groups it is fighting.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of some fighter jets from Syria, but said that strikes against Daesh and another group, the Nusra Front, would continue.
Those groups have been excluded from a Russian and US-brokered ceasefire that began on February 27 and has largely held.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with Takfiri terrorists, including Daesh, currently controlling parts of it, mostly in the east.
The Syrian conflict has killed at least 260,000 people, according to the UN, and more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.4 million has been internally displaced or fled abroad.