November 17, 2016 / 6:05 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russia launches multiple air attacks on militant targets in Syria - defence ministry

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MOSCOW, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Russia has launched its first attacks on militant targets in Syria using warplanes operating from both Russian and Syrian air bases as well as from a Russian aircraft carrier, the defence ministry said on Thursday quoted by Russian news agencies.

Cruise missiles fired from Russian Tu-95MS planes struck Islamic State and Nusra Front targets in a three-pronged approach, the first such since Russia launched its campaign in Syria more than a year ago.

The coordinated Russian attacks became possible after a naval group, comprising the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, a nuclear-powered battle cruiser, two anti-submarine warships and four support vessels, arrived off the Syrian coast earlier this month.

The naval deployment, a rare sight since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is carrying dozens of fighter bombers and helicopters and is expected to join around 10 other Russian vessels already off the Syrian coast, diplomats said.

Apart from the attacks by the strategic Tu-95MS and planes from the Admiral Kuznetsov, warplanes from Hmeimim air base in Syria also took part in the operations, the ministry said according to the report.

The cruise missiles were launched from the Mediterranean Sea zone, while some planes were deployed from an airbase in Russia, covering more 11,000 km (6,800 miles) and refuelling twice in the air, the reports said.

It identified the targets struck as operations centres, warehouses with weapons and ammunition, military hardware and weapon-producing shops. It didn’t identify the regions in which the targets were hit. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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