Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov has denied media claims that Russia’s military is constructing a new base in Palmyra city in the Homs countryside.
“There have been no and are no ‘new Russian bases’ on the territory of Syria’s Palmyra,” Konashenkov told reporters at a conference held on Tuesday, commenting on claims by Western news agencies and UNESCO that Moscow is constructing a new military base in the historical city.
“The satellite photographs of the area’s territory, published by UNESCO and mentioned by the [AP] agency… feature a temporary camp of units of the International Anti-Mine Center of Russia’s Armed Forces, which earlier engaged in mine clearing in the historical part of Palmyra, and today [engage in mine clearing] in the locality of Tadmour,” Konashenkov clarified.
He indicated that the temporary camp, which had been approved by Syrian authorities, houses accommodation modules, a field hospital where aid is provided to local residents, as well as a field bakery “whose products are also handed out to Syrians.”
“I want to note that the temporary camp of military engineers, the hospital and the bakery constitute no secret,” Konashenkov added.
The spokesman noted that more than 150 foreign journalists reported from the area during a press tour on May 5, when Palmyra hosted an orchestral concert in the ancient amphitheater to honor Syria’s fallen soldiers.
Konashenkov added that a group of UNESCO experts who arrived in Palmyra to attend the concert visited the camp, affirming that AP representatives were also invited to the press tour on May 5, but refused to take part “for unknown reasons.”
“I believe that if journalists of the influential agency had personally visited Palmyra then and that temporary camp, today there would be no ‘pseudo-sensation,’ invented by them, on construction by Russians of a ‘new base in Palmyra’.”
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.