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The Latest: Russia extends long-range strikes on IS in Syria

This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 shows a Russian Tu-22MZ bomber hitting positions of the militants outside the town of Al Bukamal on the border with Iraq in the eastern Deir el-Zour province, the epicenter of heavy fighting with the retreating IS militants. Russia's military says six of its long-range bombers have taken off from air bases in Russia to strike targets on the border between Syria and Iraq. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
November 02, 2017 - 6:09 AM

BEIRUT - The Latest on the Syrian conflict (all times local):

4 p.m.

Russia's military says it has sent six bombers to target the Islamic State group on the second day of long-range airstrikes in eastern Syria.

The Russian Defence Ministry said Thursday that six Tu-22MZ bombers hit militant positions outside the town of Boukamal on the border with Iraq in the eastern Deir el-Zour province, the focus of heavy fighting.

Russia sent six bombers to target the same area on Wednesday.

Russia has been waging an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces since 2015, targeting extremist groups as well as Syrian rebels. It has mainly used jets stationed at an airfield in the government-controlled Latakia province.

The Defence Ministry said Thursday all six bombers safely returned to their bases in Russia after destroying an unspecified number of command posts and ammunition depots.

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2:15 p.m.

A leading Syrian opposition group is calling on the United Nations to retake charge of the peace process for war-torn Syria, after Russia announced it would host parallel talks later this month.

The Higher Negotiation Committee says Russia is undermining the U.N. and imposing its own rules for Syria, where over 400,000 people have been killed in a six-year-long civil war.

Russia is a steadfast ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian forces are fighting alongside Syrian government troops against armed rebels and other opponents. Moscow says it's fighting a war on terrorism.

The HNC statement on Thursday didn't say whether the opposition would attend the November 18 talks due in Sochi — 10 days before the U.N. convenes its own talks between the government and opposition in Geneva.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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