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Russia launched airstrikes in war-torn Syria Wednesday, its first military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, infuriating the United States and France which accused Moscow of targeting Western-backed Syrian rebels.Russian warplanes carried out strikes in several Syrian provinces along with Syria government aircraft as Vladimir Putin seeks to steal U.S. President Barack Obama's thunder by pushing a rival plan to defeat ISIS in Syria.Russia will also present a U.N. draft resolution to the Security Council on countering terrorism to build up the fight against ISIS, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.The Russian parliament had approved Putin's request to use force abroad after Assad asked Russia for military support.It says the Syrian leader must go if ISIS is to be defeated.The Pentagon says Russia has in recent weeks sent troops, warplanes and other military hardware to Syria.Russia's powerful Orthodox Church voiced support for Moscow's decision to carry out airstrikes in Syria, calling it a "holy battle".
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