A Russian sapper working on the demining of Palmyra, with the town’s medieval Citadel in the background.
The Syrian government has transported as many as 2,000 civilians to Palmyra (Tadmur) on Saturday after the Russian military successfully demined the ancient city this past week. According to the Syrian Information Ministry, some 31 families that comprise of almost 2,000 people have already arrived and begun the process of moving back into their homes after fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) 11 months ago. More civilians are expected to arrive to Palmyra in the coming weeks as the government continues to encourage these residents to return to their homes.
Syrian civilians returning to Palmyra today.
The Russian military have given access to journalists from 11 countries to the liberated Syrian city of Palmyra. Moscow noted the absence of American journalists in the group.
The group of 27 media professionals from Germany, Italy, Belgium, China, Serbia and other nations were transported from the Russian military base in Khmeimim to Palmyra on Thursday.
They were carried halfway across the country by Mil Mi-8 AMTSh military transport helicopters guarded by Mil Mi-35 helicopter gunships.
The journalists were taken to the historic part of the city, which was badly damaged by the Islamic State while they controlled the city. They also had a chance to speak to local residents and Russian military engineers, who are taking part in demining the city.
Absent from the group were journalists from the US, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov noted. He said that four US-based media outlets cancelled their accreditation requests on the eve of the trip, “as if they were following an order.”[…]