Russia to continue air strikes against Islamic State in Syria: RIA

A Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet taxis on tarmac at the Hmeymim air base near Latakia, Syria, in this file handout photograph released by Russia's Defence Ministry November 11, 2015. Federation/Handout via Reuters/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian air force will continue striking targets in Syria linked to Islamic State and other terrorist groups despite a partial withdrawal, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov as saying on Tuesday.

Pankov was speaking a day after President Vladimir Putin announced that “the main part” of the Russian military contingent in Syria would begin to withdraw.

“Certain positive results have been achieved. A real chance has emerged to put an end to this long-running standoff,” RIA quoted Pankov as saying at a “mission accomplished” ceremony at Russia’s air base in Hmeymim, Syria.

“But it is still early to talk about victory over terrorism. The Russian aviation group has the task to continue carrying out strikes on terrorist facilities.”

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn