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Middle East - Syria: Russia confirms first airstrikes in Syria

Russia said it launched its first airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, though both the US and France expressed doubts over Moscow’s claims only Islamic State group positions had been targeted. Moscow gave Washington just an hour’s notice of the strikes, which set in motion Russia’s biggest show of force in the region since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a US official said.

Targets in the Homs area appeared to have been struck. But French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said “initial indications" show the airstrikes did not target zones controlled by the Islamic State group.

Fabius told reporters in New York that “verification is underway" to determine what the Russian strikes targeted, but that it currently appears they may have targeted zones held by Syrian opposition forces, who Moscow considers terrorists seeking to overthrow its long-time ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

An unnamed US defence official told the AFP news agency that so far none of the strikes had targeted the IS group and that “what we have seen is strikes against Syrian opposition”.

Read more: Europe - Russia confirms first airstrikes in Syria - France 24

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