Europe

Russia, Turkish in joint airstrikes on IS in northern Syria

  • People walk next to a destroyed building in the once rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    People walk next to a destroyed building in the once rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • People walk in the once rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    People walk in the once rebel-held Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • People pass by vendors selling cigarettes, chocolate and coffee under a destroyed bridge in the once rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    People pass by vendors selling cigarettes, chocolate and coffee under a destroyed bridge in the once rebel-held al-Shaar neighborhood in the eastern Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Parts of the once rebel-held eastern neighborhoods in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo are returning to normal nearly three weeks after opposition fighters left the city to the suburbs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

The Russian military says it has teamed up with Turkey to conduct joint airstrikes against an Islamic State group's stronghold in northern Syria.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the military's General Staff said nine Russian warplanes and eight Turkish jets have taken part in the strikes on the outskirts of al-Bab in the province of Aleppo.

Rudskoi's statement on Wednesday was the first acknowledgement of the Russian strikes in support of the Turkish offensive on al-Bab.

It highlighted an increasingly close alliance between Russia and Turkey, which last month jointly brokered a Syria truce and are working to prepare Syrian talks in Kazakhstan next week.

The two nations have backed opposing sides in the nearly six-year Syrian conflict, with Moscow supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad and Ankara backing his foes.