Official: Russia conducts first airstrike in Syria

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By Ed Payne and Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Updated 9:50 AM ET, Wed September 30, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

Washington (CNN)Russia has conducted its first airstrike in Syria, near the city of Homs, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Wednesday .

The Russians told the United States that it should not fly U.S. warplanes in Syria, but gave no geographical information about where Russia planned to strike. The senior official said U.S. missions are continuing as normal.

A State Department spokesman confirmed that the Russians had given the U.S. warning Wednesday morning that their airstrikes would begin soon.

“A Russian official in Baghdad this morning informed U.S. Embassy personnel that Russian military aircraft would begin flying anti-ISIL missions today over Syria,” said John Kirby, using another acronym for ISIS. “He further requested that U.S. aircraft avoid Syrian airspace during these missions. We’ve seen media reporting that has suggested Russian missions have begun.”

Kirby said the U.S.-led coalition would continue to fly anti-ISIS missions over Iraq and Syria as planned.

Earlier Wednesday, the upper house of the Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin approval to use the air force in Syria, buy flagyl online cheap according to state media.

“The Federation Council unanimously supported the President’s request — 162 votes in favor of granting permission,” Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov said, according to ITAR-Tass.

The vote came after a request by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for military assistance in fighting ISIS, Ivanov said.

‘They are ready’
After several days of familiarization flights, and the collection of potential targeting information by drones, the Russian air force was known to be ready.

Four Russian Su-34 Fullback fighter jets are now at the Latakia air base in Syria, and more than 600 Russian troops are in place.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters Tuesday that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed his staff to “open lines of communication with Russia on de-confliction.”

The timing of these discussions is to be worked out in the coming days. The purpose of the discussions is “to ensure the safety of coalition air crews,” he said.

Cook added that the two nations have common ground when it comes to fighting ISIS, with Carter making clear that “the goal should be to take the fight to ISIL and not to defend the Assad regime.”