Russia and Turkey ‘in first joint air strikes on IS’

Russian and Turkish jets have carried out their first joint strikes on so-called Islamic State (IS) inside Syria, the Russian defence ministry says.

IS was targeted in the suburbs of the town of al-Bab, Aleppo province, where Turkey suffered heavy casualties last month battling the group on the ground.

A Russian spokesman, Lt-Gen Sergei Rudskoi, said the joint action had been “highly effective”.

Russia and Turkey have become leading outside players in Syria’s civil war.

Al-Bab, about 20km (12 miles) from the Turkish border, has been the focus of a five-month Turkish campaign aimed at pushing back both IS and Kurdish forces.

US aircraft carried out strikes on the area earlier this week, also in co-operation with Turkey.

Gen Rudskoi said nine Russian aircraft and eight Turkish planes were involved in Wednesday’s strikes.

He listed them as four Su-24’s, four Su-25’s and one Su-34 on the Russian side, and four F-16’s and four F-4’s on the Turkish side.

They had hit 36 targets, he added, without giving details.

But he added: “The estimate of the first strikes against IS terrorists has shown that the joint actions of the Russian and Turkish aviation groups were highly effective.”

2017-01-18

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