Russia in Syria - level 3
Russia has carried out its first air strikes in Syria, but Moscow has a different version of events from the West.
The Russian Defence Ministry said it carried out 20 flights over Syria, hitting eight Islamic State targets. The ministry said Russian jets had destroyed an Islamic State command post and an operation centre in a mountainous area. Russian agencies reported that the strikes did not hit civilian infrastructure or areas nearby. This video put out by the Russian Defence ministry shows several landscapes seen from the air and smoke rising from what are allegedly air bombs.
However, the head of the Western-backed Syrian political opposition said otherwise.
They said that Russian air strikes killed at least 36 civilians and targeted areas where Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked fighters are not present.
Moscow and Washington offered conflicting accounts of which targets had been struck, underlining growing tensions between the two former Cold War foes over Russia's decision to intervene. Washington is concerned that Moscow is more interested in propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than beating Islamic State.
Difficult words: allegedly (probably), conflicting (different), account (a description that says what happened), foe (an enemy), intervene (to become involved in something), prop up (to prevent something from falling).
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