MOSCOW, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Russia is using an Iranian airbase for the first time to attack targets in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
It said in a statement its Tu-22M3 and Su-34 bombers took off from Iran’s Hamadan air base to bomb the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front — which now calls itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. The airstrikes targeted ammunition dumps, training camps, command posts and “numerous militants” in Syria before returning.
Until now, Russian airstrikes on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began at Russian bases, in the case of long-range bombers, or at Syria’s Hmeimeem airbase, where front-line bombers are stationed.
The announcement to expand the air war came after Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed anti-terrorism matters with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when they met last week in Azerbaijan. Russia and Iran each are backing Assad’s Syrian army. Iranian defense officials and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu agreed on expanded military cooperation when they met in Moscow, earlier in August.