Russia Questions British Silence Over ISIS Defeat In Palmyra

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Russia Questions British Silence Over ISIS Defeat In Palmyra

The Russian embassy in the UK has tweeted the UK foreign office asking why they have failed to address the retaking of Palmyra from ISIS militants.

The recapture of the ancient city on Sunday by the Syrian government was made possible with the help of Russian airstrikes.

RT reports: Calling the retaking a “major victory over Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL],” the embassy tweeted that the British Foreign Office and the government branch dedicated to defeating the group has failed to acknowledge the efforts.

Later on Monday, the UK Foreign Office said it welcomed action against IS, but laid responsibility for the conflict and the fate of the UNESCO World Heritage site on “the Syrian regime.”

“…It is the Syrian regime that is ultimately responsible for this conflict. It is deeply regrettable that the iconic site of Palmyra has become a pawn in the wider Syria conflict,” a Foreign Office spokesman told Sputnik.

“The only way out of [the Syrian conflict] is a political settlement,” he added.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has kept silent about the recapture, which released the ancient city from the hands of IS for the first time since May 2015.

According to the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Russian air forces “carried out 40 sorties to Palmyra’s area within 24 hours.” Eight command center buildings, 12 bases, two tanks, three artillery units, eight vehicles, and six ammunition warehouses were destroyed in the strikes. Eighty militants were also killed in the operation, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

President Obama has also refused to acknowledge the retaking of the ancient city, with a reporter from the Los Angeles Times speculating that this is because the US has portrayed the battle against IS as a task for Washington and its allies, while accusing Russia of attacking moderate rebels instead of extremists.

The US-led coalition in Syria has previously butted heads with Russia when it comes to conducting airstrikes in the war-torn country. In December, the US and Moscow accused each other of launching a strike which killed three Syrian soldiers at an army base.

NATO is also refusing to comment on the recapture of Palmyra, an alliance official told TASS on Monday.

“As a NATO official, I suggest you contact with your question NATO’s allies, which are all contributing to the International Coalition against ISIL,” the official said.

Niamh Harris
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