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Russia launches first air strikes in Syria

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The US believes Russia has launched its first airstrikes in Syria just hours after the country’s Parliament approved Vladimir Putin’s request for military intervention.

No further information was given but activists in Homs and Hama provinces have posted images and video online claiming to show Russian planes bombing groups of non-Isis rebels who are fighting Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The death toll could not be verified but dozens of fatalities were reported, including civilians, and footage showed injured children being treated in Talbiseh, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) stronghold.


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It's sad with the innocent people being killed but I'm happy for Russia to be doing this and hopefully putting and end to isis

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed criticism over his country’s air campaign in Syria, accusing Western governments of double standards in their support for the Syrian opposition.

Speaking on Thursday at a political conference in Sochi, Putin said the West is using some of the rebel groups as pawns to fit their wider agenda in the Middle East.

"Let's not play with words and divide the terrorists into moderate and not moderate," said the president.

"I would like to understand what is the difference. Perhaps, some experts believe that moderate bandits behead people in moderate numbers or in some tender way."

Putin’s comments came ahead of a Friday meeting in the Austrian capital between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts from the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - among the most vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime - to discuss the crisis in Syria.
The talks in Vienna, which follow a surprise visit by Assad to Moscow earlier this week, will provide a key opportunity for diplomats to find out more about Russia's bombing campaign in Syria.


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