Russia carries out first airstrikes on rebel forces in Syria

Just hours after demanding American warplanes leave Syria, Russia approves military operations in Syria; Russian airstrikes on rebel forces

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Russia fighter jets have launched airstrikes on rebel-controlled areas in Syria Wednesday, with attacks reported on Homs and Hama.

The airstrikes come just a few hours after Russia demanded that American warplanes leave Syrian airspace and following Russian approval for military operations in Syria.

Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved a request made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov stating, “the use of military forces in ground combat has been ruled out. The military goal of these operations is exclusively limited to air support for the Syrian government forces in their campaign against ISIL [ISIS… We’re talking specifically about Syria and we are not talking about achieving foreign policy goals or about satisfying our ambitions … but exclusively about the national interests of the Russian Federation.” Ivanov added that the “Russian military action would not be open-ended. The operations of the Russian air force can not of course go on indefinitely and will be subject to clearly prescribed time frames.”

The airstrikes, however, were carried on strong rebel-controlled areas.

According to initial reports and information provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 27 civilians were killed in the attacks.