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The Latest: Russian jets launch airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to help Assad

  • FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, in Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. Face-to-face for the first time in nearly a year, President Barack Obama and Putin on Monday, Sept. 28, will confront rising tensions over Moscow’s military engagement in Syria, as well as the stubborn crisis in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, in Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. Face-to-face for the first time in nearly a year, President Barack Obama and Putin on Monday, Sept. 28, will confront rising tensions over Moscow’s military engagement in Syria, as well as the stubborn crisis in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, holds a meeting with senior government officials at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Russian military jets carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday for the first time, after President Vladimir Putin received parliamentary approval to send Russian troops to Syria.  (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, holds a meeting with senior government officials at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Russian military jets carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday for the first time, after President Vladimir Putin received parliamentary approval to send Russian troops to Syria. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, holds a meeting with senior government officials at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Russian military jets carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday for the first time, after President Vladimir Putin received parliamentary approval to send Russian troops to Syria. Background from left: Igor Shuvalov, first deputy premier, Dmitry Medvedev, Premier. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, holds a meeting with senior government officials at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Russian military jets carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Wednesday for the first time, after President Vladimir Putin received parliamentary approval to send Russian troops to Syria. Background from left: Igor Shuvalov, first deputy premier, Dmitry Medvedev, Premier. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The latest developments as Russia and other nations counter Islamic State militants in Syria. All times local:

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4:20 p.m.

Russia's defense ministry says its jets are carrying out airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria.

The ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies on Wednesday that Russian jets are carrying out targeted airstrikes on the positions, vehicles and warehouses that Russia believes belong to IS militants.

Earlier Wednesday, Russia's upper chamber of parliament gave the green light to President Vladimir Putin's request to use Russian forces in Syria. A Kremlin official said the move was to protect Russia's national security, since at least 2,400 Russians have gone to fight in Syria or Iraq.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is a key ally of Moscow.