Russia says groundwork laid for routing Islamic State in Syria's Palmyra

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Columns are seen in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria

Columns are seen in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria, June 12, 2009. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's defense ministry said on Friday that conditions had been created for a complete defeat of Islamic State forces in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

Russia's air force is continuing air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria at a rate of 20-25 sorties per day, while continuing to withdraw the bulk of its military contingent "according to schedule", Sergei Rudskoi, a lieutenant-general in the Russian air force, told a news briefing.

(Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe)