Europe

Russian warplanes take off from Iran to target IS in Syria

  • In this frame grab from video provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service, Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3 flies during a strike above an undisclosed location in Syria on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2015. ( Russian Defence Ministry press service photo via AP)

    In this frame grab from video provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service, Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3 flies during a strike above an undisclosed location in Syria on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2015. ( Russian Defence Ministry press service photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran. Russian warplanes took off on Tuesday Aug. 16, from Iran to target Islamic State fighters and other militants in Syria, widening Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria.(WarfareWW Photo via AP)

    In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran. Russian warplanes took off on Tuesday Aug. 16, from Iran to target Islamic State fighters and other militants in Syria, widening Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria.(WarfareWW Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran. Russian warplanes took off on Tuesday Aug. 16, from Iran to target Islamic State fighters and other militants in Syria, widening Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria. (WarfareWW Photo via AP)

    In this photo taken on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, A Russian Tu-22M3 bomber stands on the tarmac at an air base near Hamedan, Iran. Russian warplanes took off on Tuesday Aug. 16, from Iran to target Islamic State fighters and other militants in Syria, widening Moscow's bombing campaign in Syria. (WarfareWW Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

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

Tuesday's announcement marks a major development in the efforts against the Sunni militant group. Russia has never used the territory of another country in the Middle East — except Syria — for its operations inside Syria before this.

The ministry's statement says 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.