- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russia has conducted its first airstrike in Syria, near the city of Homs, a senior U.S. official confirmed Wednesday. 

Russia had warned the U.S. not to fly warplanes in Syria, but gave no geographical information on where they planned to strike, CNN reported

The U.S. official told CNN that U.S. missions in the region are continuing as normal.

The strike came after the upper house of the Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin approval to use the Russian air force in Syria on Wednesday, according to state media.

“The Federation Council unanimously supported the President’s request — 162 votes in favor of granting permission,” Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov said, according to ITAR-Tass.

The vote came after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad requested military assistance combating Islamic State militants, Mr. Ivanov said.

He said no ground troops would be involved in Syria, only the Russian air force, the BBC reported.

Earlier this week Mr. Putin called on the U.N. for a broad anti-terror coalition, saying the fight against terrorism should be a global effort similar to the alliance that opposed Adolf Hitler in World War II.  

The U.S. has been leading airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to combat the Islamic State group for over a year. 

U.S. and Russian leader have differed over the Syria conflict, which has claimed more than 250,000 lives and displaced more than four million people. 

The U.S. insists Mr. Assad must leave office but Moscow has supported the Syrian president, with Mr. Putin saying it would be an “enormous mistake” to refuse to co-operate with the Syrian government against the jihadist militants. 

Homs, located in the western region of Syria, is not an area where many Islamic State forces are operating, but anti-Assad forces are, CNN reported.

Russian airstrikes in the area point to the Kremlin’s intent to prop up the Assad regime in Syria’s civil war. 

 

 

 

 

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