Russian Warplanes Take Off From Iran to Target IS in Syria

MOSCOW (AP) -
A still image, taken from video footage and released by Russia's Defence Ministry on August 16, 2016, shows a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bomber based in Iran, flying after bombs were dropped off, at an unknown location in Syria. Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
A still image, taken from video footage and released by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday, shows a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bomber based in Iran, flying after bombs were dropped off, at an unknown location in Syria. (Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation/Handout via Reuters)

Russia’s Defense Ministry says that Russian warplanes have taken off from a base in Iran to target Islamic State terrorists in Syria.

Tuesday’s announcement marks a major development in the efforts against the Sunni militant group. Russia has never used facilities outside Syria for its operations in the Arab country before this.

The ministry’s statement said that Su-34 and Tu-22M3 bombers took off earlier in the day to target Islamic State and the Nusra Front militants in Aleppo, as well as in Deir el-Zor and Idlib, destroying five major ammunition depots, training camps and three command posts.

Russia and Iran have been expanding their ties in the past months after most of the sanctions against Iran were lifted.