Iraqi authorities asked two international airports in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, to halt all flights for 48 hours from Monday morning, according to the Kurdish media outlet Rudaw.
“We have been informed by Baghdad to halt the flights because of Russian jets attacking Daesh (ISIS) in Syria. This is for the safety of travelers,” Talar Faiyq, head of Erbil International Airport, told Rudaw late Sunday.
@GenialMalik Russia is using Iran and Iraq airspace, with permission, to attack ISIS from the Russian bases directly.— Haji S. Pasha (@HarPasha) November 21, 2015
Russia has been launching airstrikes on various targets of the so called ‘Islamic State’, or ISIL, in Syria since the end of September. On September 30, more than fifty Russian aircraft — including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 warplanes — commenced precision airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Syrian and Iraqi troops, supported by Russian air strikes in Syria, have continued to advance on Islamic State militants, leaving the jihadist group with just 34 bases in these two Arab countries, the Iranian news agency FARS quoted a media activist as saying.