Russia bombs IS targets in Syria amid Astana talks

Moscow, Jan 23 (IANS) Six Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers have successfully destroyed the Islamic State targets in Syria as intra-Syrian talks are underway in Kazakh capital Astana, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Monday.

The aircraft took off from Russia and flew over Iraq and Iran before dropping bombs on IS command posts and ammunition depots near the Deir Ezzor settlement, Xinhua reported.

Escorted by Su-30SM and Su-35S from the Hmeimim airfield in Syria, the six bombers have destroyed all the intended targets and returned to Russia, the ministry said.

Last week, Russia and Turkey carried out their first-ever joint air operation against the IS militants in Syria’s northern Aleppo province, destroying 36 facilities.

Russia and Turkey brokered a nationwide truce in war-torn Syria from December 30 and they also serve, together with Iran, as guarantors for the two-day Astana peace talks that kicked off on Monday.

The cease-fire excluded IS and other terrorist groups. Violations of the truce were recorded nearly every day.

Conditions should be created to ensure a real dialogue between all responsible sides during the Astana talks, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said last week following the Russia-Turkey joint air strike.