December 12, 2016 8:02:09 pm
The Kremlin on Monday deplored the lack of cooperation with the United States in Palmyra after Islamic State jihadists re-entered the ancient Syrian city at the weekend. “We regret that we have yet to completely neutralise their offensive,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the fighters return to the fabled city after an eight-month absence.
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“We also regret that there still is a lack of coordinated action and real cooperation with other states — with the United States first and foremost that do not want to cooperate, and this cooperation could allow us to avoid such attacks by terrorists.” Peskov added that jihadists from neighbouring Iraq, where a Western coalition is supporting the Iraqi military’s efforts to retake the city of Mosul from IS, had been flooding into Syria.
Russia’s defence ministry said Sunday that its war planes had carried out more than 60 overnight strikes on Palmyra, claiming to have “thwarted all terrorist attacks” on the city. Russia has carried out a bombing campaign in Syria in support of its long-standing President Bashar al-Assad since September 2015.
Syrian troops backed by Russian air strikes and special forces on the ground recaptured the UNESCO world heritage site from IS fighters in March, delivering a major propaganda coup for both Damascus and Moscow. Regime forces are currently focused on a major offensive fighting other insurgent groups in the second city of Aleppo that has seen them seize back most of the rebel-held stronghold. The deadly war in Syria has killed more than 300,000 people since it started in March 2011 with a wave of anti-government protests.
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