Syrian warplanes strike IS de facto capital

Damascus, Sep 17 (IANS) Syrian warplanes carried out 10 airstrikes on Thursday against the northern province of al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State (IS) militants, activists reported.

The airstrikes targeted the areas of Panorama, Fardous, Sinaa, al-Tawlid Hospital among other positions in al-Raqqa.

The intensified airstrikes came as reports emerged of Syrian army started using newly-received Russian weaponry on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

Earlier in the day, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said “the new weaponry sent by Russia is of high and precise efficiency and the Syrian army has started getting trained to use them.”

The TV did not elaborate on where exactly the new weapons were deployed.

Russian officials have recently stressed that Moscow will continue providing military aid to Damascus, and that the military support will be accompanied by Russian specialists.

“There were military supplies. They are ongoing and they will continue,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday. “They are inevitably accompanied by Russian specialists, who help to adjust the equipment, to train Syrian personnel to use these weaponry.”

Russia says the military aid is aimed at combating terrorism in accordance with international law.

Syria is reeling under four years of conflict and intense battles between government troops and an array of ultra-radical groups such as the Nursra Front and the IS.

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