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Official: Russia Using Iran Airspace for Syria Raids | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Rescuers and civilians inspect a destroyed building in the Syrian village of Kfar Jales, on the outskirts of Idlib, following airstrikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes . AFP

Russian warplanes are using Iran’s airspace to carry out operations and airstrikes in Syria, a senior Iranian official said Saturday.

“The fact that they (Russian bombers) use Iranian airspace continues because we have total strategic cooperation with Russia,” Admiral Ali Shamkhani told the Fars news agency.

Shamkhani is secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and Tehran’s coordinator of political, security and military actions with Russia.

“The use of Iranian airspace by Russian aircraft is made subject to a joint decision,” he told the IRNA news agency.

He said Russian planes had not recently needed to land in Iran for re-supply.

The agency said Shamkhani was commenting on media reports that Russia’s Tupolev-22M long-range bombers had used Iranian airspace and a base in the country on their missions in Syria.

Russian fighter bombers first used an Iranian military base in August 2016 to attack jihadist positions in Syria.

The Russian military said its fighters had completed their tasks, but left open the possibility of using the Hamadan base again if circumstances warranted.

Iran and Russia are closely cooperating in Syria and provide political, financial and military backing to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Tehran has sent military advisors and fighters to support the Syrian forces.