Russia to help Syria rebuild ancient city of Palmyra, retaken from IS

Russia reaffirmed on Monday that it will help rebuild ancient sites in the Syrian city of Palmyra, recaptured by Syrian state forces last week from the terrorist group Islamic State.

The central Syrian city, built on an oasis, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with monuments thousands of years old.

"We will definitely perform restoration of Palmyra. This issue has long been discussed," Russian cultural envoy Mikhail Shvydkoi told the Interfax news agency.

Shvydkoi said Russia has many specialists who know Palmyra's ancient sites well, including the director of the renowned Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Mikhail Piotrovsky.

Piotrovsky confirmed to state news agency TASS on Monday that his museum was prepared to participate in the restoration process.

Syria's Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums believes that the restoration could take five years, TASS reported.

The ancient temples of Bel and Baal-Shamin, and many other relics, were destroyed by the fundamentalist Islamic State during its occupation of the city.

Russia is a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Russian military forces helped the Syrian army retake Palmyra.

Last update: Mon, 28/03/2016 - 19:38

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