Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Associated Press | September 30, 2015 9:40 AM ET
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SERGEY VENYAVSKY/AFP/Getty ImagesRussian SU 25 SM ground attack aircraft (ground) and MIG 29 jet fighters (taking off) during a training session in March.
MOSCOW — Russian military jets carried out airstrikes against ISIL in Syria on Wednesday for the first time, the defense ministry said.
The airstrikes targeted Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant positions, vehicles and warehouses that Russia believes belong to ISIL militants, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies.
Russia gave Americans one hour advanced notice of the strikes, Reuters reports, citing a U.S. official.
Russia’s upper chamber of parliament earlier on Wednesday gave the green light to President Vladimir Putin’s request to send Russian troops to Syria.
IHS Jan's Intelligence Review/ Airbus DSChanges at the Istamo weapons storage complex (top) and tents and vehicles at a military complex adjacent to a Pechora-2M SAM near Al-Sanobar, Syria.
Russia is “not going to plunge into this conflict head-on,” Putin said, and Moscow will help Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army as long as their offensive operation lasts.
Putin also said he expects Assad to sit down and talk with the Syrian opposition about a political settlementPutin said the Russian air force will be supporting the Syrian army in its offensive operations.
Russian lawmakers voted unanimously Wednesday to allow Putin to order airstrikes in Syria, where Russia has deployed fighter jets and other weapons in recent weeks.
Putin had to request parliamentary approval for any use of Russian troops abroad, according to the constitution. The last time he did so was before Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.