Russia says its military advisers took 'direct role' in plan to free Palmyra

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Russian military advisers played a direct role in planning the operation to liberate the Syrian city of Palmyra from the Islamic State militants, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday. Russian warplanes carried out a total of around 500 sorties, hitting more than 2,000 Islamic State targets in Palmyra's area in the period of March 7-27, the ministry said in a statement.