"There are no 'new army bases' on the territory of the Syrian town of Palmyra and there will never be," Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in an official statement on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the AP news agency came out with a report stating that the Russian military is building an army base in Palmyra within the zone listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site, and without permission from authorities. The agency cited an "American heritage organization" and a "top Syrian archaeologist" as its sources, as well as satellite images that appear to show some construction on the edge of the ancient site.
Comment: Notice the Associated Press does not name either source.
Yet, as General Konashenkov states, the pictures show something else entirely.
"The satellite pictures of this area posted by UNESCO, which were mentioned by AP, show the temporary camp of the International Demining Center of Russia's Defense Forces, which were demining the archaeological monument of Palmyra, and now the broader area of Tadmor city."
The installation of this temporary camp until the area is cleared of explosives has been approved at the Ministry of Culture and other official departments of the Syrian State," Konashenkov pointed out.