Russia, Turkey conducted first joint air strike on IS in Syria

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DUSHANBE, 19.01.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Russia and Turkey have started their first joint air operation against militants of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, Xinhua news agency reports citing a senior Russian military officer.

The air operation, agreed with the Syrian side, involves nine Russian combat planes and eight Turkish jets, � Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, told a news briefing.

A total of 36 facilities have been targeted, and drones and satellites conducted an additional reconnaissance of the targets over the past two days, said Rudskoy, adding that the joint operation was highly successful.

The previously unparalleled joint action became possible after Russian and Turkish Air Forces signed a memorandum on Jan. 12 on preventing incidents and ensuring aviation safety during operations in Syria.

With support of Russian jets, the Syrian government forces are now attacking IS terrorists around Syria's ancient city of Palmyra, the Lt. General said.

Russia and Turkey brokered a nationwide truce in war-torn Syria from Dec. 30, but it does not apply to IS and other terrorist groups.

Mediators and Syrian conflicting factions are expected to meet in Astana, Kazakhstan, later this month to seek a settlement of the chronic crisis.

Conditions should be created to ensure a real dialogue between all responsible sides for the interests of the Syrian people during the upcoming Astana talk, said Rudskoy.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan