Russia launches first air strikes on Syria from air base in Iran

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Russian military has conducted air strikes in Syria using warplanes based in Iran for the first time, Russian state media are reporting.

Russia's Defence Ministry released an image on Aug. 14 of a Tu-22M3 near Deir ez-Zor, Syria.
Russia’s Defence Ministry released an image on Aug. 14 of a Tu-22M3 near Deir ez-Zor, Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the August 16 air strikes were carried out by Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 strike fighters that took off from the Hamadan air field in Iran.

The ministry claimed the strikes successfully hit Islamic State facilities in three northern Syrian provinces, including arms depots and training camps.

Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the Russian Duma’s Defense Committee, said the use of the Iranian base would “save fuel and enlarge bomb loads.”

Also on August 16, the New York-based rights monitor Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the joint Russian-Syrian military operation in Syria of using incendiary weapons in civilian areas.

HRW said air-dropped incendiary weapons had been used at least 18 times in the last six weeks. It urged the countries of the Convention on Chemical Weapons to condemn the action when they meet in Geneva on August 29.

“These weapons inflict horrible injuries and excruciating pain, so all countries should condemn their use in civilians areas,” HRW arms director Steve Goose was quoted as saying.

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