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Russian strikes in Syria again halt north Iraq flights

AFP , Monday 7 Dec 2015
Arbil International Airport
File Photo: A security agent walks on the tarmac of Arbil International Airport, in the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region on November 23, 2015 (Photo: AFP)
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Flights to and from two northern Iraqi airports were suspended for 48 hours for the second time in roughly two weeks due to Russian strikes in Syria, officials said Monday.

The directors of the Arbil and Sulaimaniyah airports in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region both said that flights had been suspended due to danger posed by Russian cruise missiles heading to Syria.

Flights to the two airports were also suspended for 48 hours beginning on November 23 for the same reason.

And flights in and out of Lebanon were rerouted and some airlines cancelled services after Moscow requested they avoid an area over the eastern Mediterranean a few days before that.

Russia began carrying out strikes in Syria on September 30 in support of its longstanding ally President Bashar al-Assad.

In its bombing campaign, Moscow has fired cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea that passed over northern Iraq en route to their targets in Syria.

A US-led coalition is also carrying out strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, where the militants have declared a cross-border "caliphate" spanning territory it controls in the two countries.

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