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Russian planes resume intense air strikes in Syria

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By Robert Hackwill
Russian planes resume intense air strikes in Syria

Russian air power has resumed operations against rebel and jihadist forces in Syria battling the government.

Fighter bombers have been supported by missile strikes from the Russian flotilla in the Mediterranean attacking targets in Idlib, while Syrian government forces have stepped up attacks in eastern Aleppo, including more barrel bomb drops from helicopters.

“Based on our research we have defined the main targets. They are ammunition warehouses, places of concentration of illegal armed groups or to be precise – terrorists,” said russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Russia insisted its planes were not hitting targets in Aleppo, and had not in the last 28 days. The use of Russian planes against Syria’s largest city has drawn fierce criticism from some quarters, and there are reportedly no ISIL forces involved in the fighting there, although Islamic militants Jabhat Fateh al-Sham are active. Russian planes also bombed targets in Homs.

Air strikes hit three hospitals in towns and villages in rebel-held areas west of Aleppo, putting them out of action. Residents said the bombing was intense, although for the moment only three civilian deaths have been reported.