Russia strikes IS positions in Syria: Turkish military

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Ankara, Dec 30 (IANS) The Turkish armed forces on Friday said that Russian aircraft carried out three air strikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria, killing 12 militants.

The attacks were launched on Thursday in support of Turkey’s military operation against IS in the northern town of Al-Bab, Hurriyet Daily News reported citing military officials.

Russian forces staged three attacks in support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an ally of Turkey.

Turkish forces also launched airstrikes against Al-Bab, which reportedly killed a further 26 IS members.

A Turkish soldier died and five others were injured in a counter-attack by IS militants.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday denounced a lack of support from NATO countries in the fight against IS in Syria, Efe news reported.

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Erdogan said Turkey, as a NATO ally, needed the organisation’s support.

His country had not seen any support from NATO nor from allied countries, he said during a speech in Ankara capital city.

The head of state also condemned Washington’s support of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey.

The Russian attacks came hours after a ceasefire, struck between the Syrian government regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups, came into effect and is being safeguarded by both Russia and Turkey.

The ceasefire did not apply to groups considered terrorist organisations by the United Nations Security Council, as in the case of IS.

In August, Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation in order to expel IS fighters from its borders and prevent the advance of Kurdish-Syrian militias across northern Syria.

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