Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said it viewed a US decision to ease restrictions on weapons supplies to Syrian rebels as a “hostile act” that threatened the safety of Russian warplanes and military personnel, the RIA news agency reported.

RIA quoted the ministry as saying the administration of Barack Obama was attempting to complicate the situation in the world before Donald Trump took over the White House in January.

Mr Obama lifted some restrictions on arms deliveries to Syrian rebels earlier this month.

The Kremlin, whose air force is supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, said the move was risky and that weapons could end up in the hands of “terrorists”.

Senior IS commander in Syria likely killed – monitor

Meanwhile, one of so-called Islamic State’s top commanders in Syria was probably killed in combat as the jihadists sought to stave off an advance by US-backed Syrian forces towards a strategic dam in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

The commander known as Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti was killed as IS fighters tried to drive the Syrian Democratic Forces from the village of Jabar captured from the jihadists yesterday, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said.

The so-called Islamic State counter attack, launched overnight, failed. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, including the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, have advanced towithin 5km of the dam, Abdulrahman said.

Russia says agreed with Turkey to push for ceasefire in Syria

It comes as the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey agreed in a telephone conversation today to push for a ceasefire in Syria and to prepare for possible peace talks planned in the Kazakh capital of Astana, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

During the conversation “the importance was stressed of a rapid completion of agreements on practical parameters to endmilitary actions (in Syria), the separation of the moderate opposition from terrorist groups, and preparations for the meeting in Astana,” the statement said.