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Syria's top diplomat says Russian airstrikes, new role in Syria took months of preparations

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)  (The Associated Press)

Syria's foreign minister says Russian airstrikes and its new military "steps" in Syria took months of preparations.

Walid al-Moallem says in remarks broadcast on Beirut's Al-Mayadeen TV that Russia closely coordinates with the Syrian army over its airstrikes. The full interview with will be aired later on Monday.

Russia launched its air campaign on Wednesday and claims it's targeting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, but at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions.

The Russian attacks have largely focused on the northwestern and central provinces — the gateways to the heartland of Syrian President Bashar Assad's powerbase in the capital, Damascus, and on the Mediterranean coast.

Russian airstrikes Monday reportedly hit in the central province of Homs and Idlib in the northwest.