Russia has pounded jihadist with airstrikes just hours after Vladimir Putin ordered a military withdrawal from Syria.

Helicopters targeted positions around the ancient city of Palmyra as Syrian troops pressed a ground advance.

The strikes came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the pullout of the ‘main part’ of his forces from the war-torn country.

Russia did, however, choose to keep a contingent at its air and naval bases in Syria and a senior official said strikes against ‘terrorists’ would continue.

‘Russian helicopters and warplanes, that are likely Russian, are bombarding Islamic State group positions near Palmyra,’ said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

Earlier today, it emerged that Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch Al-Nusra Front said it was preparing a new offensive in Syria within 48 hours after insisting it was ‘clear that Russia has suffered defeat’.

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