23:45 GMT30 October 2020
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    Two major airports in Iraq will reportedly remain closed until Wednesday by request from Baghdad. A possible reason was given: the Russian aerial campaign against jihadists in Syria.

    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.

    She said all flights are not to be resumed any earlier than Wednesday and added that the measures are aimed at protecting the safety of travelers.

    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.

    A Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces during a combat flight to strike the Islamic State infrastructure facilities in Syria by OFAB-25-270 fragmentation high explosive bombs
    © Photo : Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation
    This Saturday, hundreds of Islamic State militants reportedly fled the Syrian city of Raqqa as Russian fighters and long-range bombers have intensified their airstrikes on the strongholds and command centers of the ISIL militants in recent days.

    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.


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    airspace closure, airspace, airport, airstrike, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq
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