Russian military denies strikes on Syrian city of Palmyra

IS militants recently destroyed the 'Arch of Triumph' in the Syrian city of Palmyra, which dates from between 193 and 211 AD (AFP Photo/Joseph Eid)

Moscow (AFP) - Russia's defence ministry on Tuesday dismissed as "absolute lies" claims that its jets had bombed the Syrian city of Palmyra after Syrian state TV reported the strikes.

"All reports by foreign media that Russian planes have allegedly conducted air strikes against the city of Palmyra are absolute lies," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, Russian news wires reported.

"Our aviation in Syria does not attack residential areas nor -- especially not -- the architectural monuments there," he said.

Syrian state television reported Tuesday that Russian warplanes bombed targets in and around the Syrian city of Palmyra in Moscow's first strikes against the Islamic State group-controlled area.

The state broadcaster cited a military source as saying that the Russian air force in coordination with Syrian air force had struck IS targets "in and around" the city.

It said the strikes had destroyed "20 armoured vehicles, three ammunition warehouses and three rocket launchers."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the Palmyra strikes were launched overnight and killed at least 15 IS fighters and injured dozens more.

IS seized control of Palmyra in May and has realised international fears by destroying some of the most prized sites in the UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient city.

Russia last week launched air strikes in Syria at the request of its long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow insists it is going after IS targets in the war-torn country but the US and its allies fears the aim of the intervention is to bolster the Syrian government.