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IS did not hold Friday prayers fearing Russian air strikes

Moscow: Activists claimed that fearing Russian air strikes, Islamic State did not hold Friday prayers in several mosques in its capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Russian Air Forces carried out 20 sorties during the first round of air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, hitting eight targets, including a command center, Russian Defense Ministry has said.

Eight facilities held by the extremist group had been struck, with a command post and militant control centers in the mountainous areas of Syria being completely destroyed, Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying on Wednesday.

The minister also released a 46-second video footage, which appeared to show dozens of ground targets in different locations being struck.

The strikes, stationed at a Syria’s airbase, were conducted after aerial reconnaissance and data clarification with the Syrian government forces, said Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

No armament was used to target civilian facilities or within their vicinity, he added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated on Wednesday that Russia’s airstrikes in Syria would be temporary, “only for the period of offensive operations carried out by the Syrian army”.