World

Russia boosts air campaign to help recapture key Syrian city

Russia has boosted its air campaign in Syria to help President Bashar Assad's forces drive Islamic State militants from Deir el-Zour, the largest city in which they still have a major presence.

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said Monday that Russian jets are now making 60 to 70 flights a day to target militants and their facilities around the eastern city. He says Syrian troops are meanwhile advancing from three directions to encircle the city, after capturing high ground and cutting off militant supply routes.

Syrian government forces control around half the city and a nearby air base, both of which are besieged by the militants.

Russia has waged an air campaign in Syria since September 2015 aimed at helping Assad's forces defeat IS as well as Syrian rebel groups.