Russian jets bomb IS-held Syrian town surrounded by Turkish forces

Istanbul - Russian warplanes have for the first time bombed jihadist targets around the town of Al-Bab in Syria held by Islamic State (IS) extremists but surrounded by Turkish forces, a report said Thursday.

The Dogan news agency, citing military sources, said the air strikes took place on Wednesday. The report was published after the announcement of a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria.

There was no official confirmation of the report. The agency did not specify if the strikes were coordinated with Turkey.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "strikes suspected to be Russian" had been hitting Al-Bab for the last two days "in support of the Turkish operation".

There was no comment from the Russian army.

Turkey has for four months pressed an incursion against IS jihadists inside Syria in support of pro-Ankara fighters.

But they have faced stiffening resistance in the battle to take Al-Bab, taking increasing casualties.

Turkey has in the last days stepped up criticism of US-led anti-IS coalition forces for failing to back the Turkish incursion inside Syria with air support.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who this week accused Washington of backing IS jihadists, on Thursday again attacked the US for its "support" for terror organisations in Syria.