MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, currently in the Mediterranean, to start cooperating with the French military on operations in Syria.
Putin's statement came as Russia's defense minister said its warplanes have fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The militant group Islamic State has positions in Aleppo province, whereas Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group.
Putin said a French aircraft carrier task force is to approach the Moskva soon and the cruiser is to "cooperate with them as with allies."
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also told a briefing conducted for Putin on Tuesday that Russian bombers hit Islamic State positions in Raqqa and Der-ez-Zor.
Shoigu said the cruise missiles that hit the Aleppo and Idlib positions were fired from Tu-160 and Tu-95 warplanes.