Russia Confirms First Airstrikes in Syria

Russia's Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the country has begun "surgical strikes" against ground targets in Syria controlled by the jihadist group the Islamic State, or ISIS, state news agency Itar-Tass reports.

In a press conference held in Moscow on Wednesday, military spokesman General Major Igor Konashenkov confirmed earlier reports by U.S. diplomatic sources that Russia has begun airstrikes. The news came just hours after Russia's upper house of parliament approved Russian President Vladimir Putin's request to provide the Syrian government with military assistance.

Konashenkov told reporters that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu had given early indication to Russia's allies, including Belarus and Kazakhstan, that the Russian air force would be targeting, "military equipment, communication centers, vehicles, arms depot, ammunition and fuel supplies belonging to ISIS terrorists" in Syria.

An U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that Moscow only gave Washington an hour's notice before it began the strikes. The official added that targets in the city of Homs appeared to have been struck, but not the areas of the city known to be held by ISIS.

There is no word yet from the Ministry of Defense on which sites have been targeted, however Syrian security sources told AFP that Russian aircraft targeted three different provinces in the country:

@DavidKenner security source telling AFP the Russians hit Hama, Homs and Latakia.

— Sara Hussein (@sarahussein) September 30, 2015

Earlier on Wednesday Syria's ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad told Tass that anti-ISIS airstrikes will be coordinated from a center located in Iraq.