Planes bomb ISIS: Syria Air Strikes

Published: November 17, 2015

U.S. defense officials said Tuesday that Russia had begun an aggressive air campaign against sites in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria, following Moscow’s acknowledgment of evidence confirming a bomb downed a Russian airliner over Egypt last month.

The Russians used sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers to target Islamic State in Raqqa, according to a senior defense official.

Vladimir Putin was told Russia had stepped up air strikes against religious militants in Syria with long-range bombers and cruise missiles after the Kremlin announced a manhunt for those responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt.

Putin, visiting the defence ministry’s command centre in Moscow on Tuesday evening, was told by military chiefs that the air force had carried out around 2,300 sorties in Syria in the last 48 days.

Putin, in footage broadcast earlier on Tuesday, had vowed to hunt down those responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt and intensify air strikes against militants in Syria, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb had destroyed the plane last month, killing 224 people.

Speaking four days after gunmen and bombers killed at least 129 people in Paris, Putin ordered the Russian navy to establish contact with a French aircraft carrier in the region and to treat them as allies.

He said Russia could develop a joint plan on Syria with the French navy.

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