170 Russian sappers, supported by 40 units of special military euipment, have started a de-mining effort in the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

“On a priority basis, specialists of the Russian Armed Forces Anti-Mine Center remove mines from roads leading to socially important facilities of the city, such as hospitals, water and electricity supply facilities,” the ministry said in a statement. “At present, groups of military engineers and sappers are clearing roads, roadsides and adjacent buildings near the city and on its outskirts in order to ensure the safety of humanitarian convoys heading to Deir ez-Zor [Deir Ezzor].”

The sappers need to claer an area of up to 1,500 hectares in Deir Ezzor city and nearby settlements.

On Thurdsay, ISIS launched a large-scale attack and cut off the important government supply line to Deir Ezzor city – the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway. This will likely create additional troubles for the de-mining operation.

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