Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea – about 1,500km (930 miles) away.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said four warships fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles on 11 targets, destroying them and causing no civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials say.

Russia denies claims that its week of strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported “the most intense fighting in months” in Hama and Idlib provinces. The clashes followed a wave of Russian air strikes in the same areas, it said.

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