Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the military's General Staff speaks at a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow, Jan. 18, 2017.
Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the military's General Staff speaks at a briefing in the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow, Jan. 18, 2017.

Russia's air force will work with Turkey's to conduct joint airstrikes targeting Islamic State militants in Northern Syria, the Russian military announced Wednesday.

In televised comments Wednesday, senior Russian Defense Ministry official Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said nine Russian planes and eight Turkish jets have carried out strikes on the town of al-Bab — roughly 40 kilometers northeast of Aleppo.

Rudskoi said it was the first time Russia and Turkey's air forces had teamed up in this way. It also marked the first public acknowledgement by Russia that they conduct airstrikes in war-torn Syria.

Russia and Syria had been on opposing sides of the nearly six-year Syrian conflict, with Moscow backing Syrian president Bashar Assad while Ankara supported the rebels.

The two countries have worked together in recent months, though, and will broker peace talks later this month in Kazakhstan aimed at finding a political solution to the war.

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