MOSCOW – The Russian Air Force has begun carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, the country’s Defense Ministry said.
“In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin, warplanes of the Russian Air Space Forces today [Wednesday] have started an aerial operation, involving pinpoint strikes on ground targets of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] terrorists in Syria,” spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said.
The Russia airstrikes are targeting military equipment, communication centers, vehicles, arms and fuel depots, belonging to IS terrorists, Konashenkov added.
Earlier, a US official told Reuters that Moscow gave Washington one-hour advanced notice of its operations. The bombing is taking place in western Syria, near the city Homs, the official added.
A Pentagon official also told Russia’s RIA Novosti that Russia urged the US to clear the skies for the operation.
Following the reports, Vladimir Putin said all Moscow’s foreign partners have been informed about Russian plans in Syria.
During his meeting with the government, the president stressed that Russia’s participation in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria is based on international law and is being conducted “in accordance with an official request from the president of the Syrian Arab Republic [Bashar Assad].”