Russian warplanes start airstrikes against terrorist groups in Syria

Updated: 2015-09-30 20:40


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Russian warplanes start airstrikes against terrorist groups in Syria

Men walk past the Federation Council, head Russia's upper house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia, September 30, 2015. The Federation Council voted unanimously to give President Vladimir Putin approval to deploy the country's military in Syria. [Photo/Agencies]

DAMASCUS - The Russian warplanes started Wednesday its airstrikes against the rebels positions in the countryside of the Syrian provinces of Hama and Homs in central Syria and Latakia on the coast, a security source told Xinhua.

"The Russian and Syrian war jets started Wednesday striking the terrorist positions in the countryside of Hama, Homs and Latakia," the source said on condition of anonymity.

More specifically, the airstrikes targeted "over the past few hours" the areas of Ghamam, Jabal Zuwaid and Deir Hanna in northeast of Latakia, as well as the towns of Rastan and Talbiseh in Homs countryside.

The airstrikes also targeted the militant group's positions in Latamneh and Kafr Zaita northwest of Hama.

The strikes were coupled by an intensive reconnaissance flights, said the source, adding that tens of terrorists were killed in the strikes.

Earlier in the day, Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, granted President Vladimir Putin approval to send armed forces to Syria, Russian Presidential Administration Chief Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday.

"The Federation Council unanimously supported the president's request," Tass news agency quoted Ivanov as saying.

According to Ivanov, only air forces would be used by Russia in Syria to fight against Islamic State militants at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Earlier in the day, Putin formally requested permission from the upper house to send "contingent of Russian Armed Forces" outside Russian territories "in line with universally recognized principles and international laws," according to an online statement released by the Kremlin.

"The operation's goal is only to provide air support to Syrian armed forces in the fight against IS," Ivanov stressed.

He added that the operation would be limited in time while refusing to specify the types of weapons that would be used.

Moreover, all Russia's partners and allies would be informed about the decision as well as operation details if necessary, according to Ivanov.

Under Russian Constitution, the Federation Council is responsible for deciding on the possibility of using Russian armed forces outside the country.

For its part, Damascus has confirmed it had asked Russia for military aid, saying the Russian air force aid to Syria has come upon the request of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the state news agency SANA.

"Sending Russian air force to Syria came upon the request of the Syrian state, which came through a letter sent by President Bashar al-Assad to President Vladimir Putin, which include an invitation to send a Russian air force as part of Putin's initiative to counter terrorism," SANA said, citing a statement from the presidential media office in Damascus.

A couple of weeks ago, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in an interview that his government could ask for a Russian military aid if necessary. A day later, Russian officials said Moscow is ready to provide aid to Syria.

The Russian leadership has recently amplified its military aid to the Syrian military forces. Russian officials have recently stressed that Moscow will continue providing military aid, including specialists, to Damascus.

Russian officials said the increasing military supplies aim at combating terrorism in accordance with international law.