MOSCOW — The Russian military says it has conducted an exercise that involved anti-submarine aircraft flying missions over the eastern Mediterranean.

Russia's Defense Ministry said Thursday the Tu-142 aircraft took off from an air base in Russia and flew to the southeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea under the escort of the Su-30 fighter jets. It said the crews practiced searching for enemy submarines.

The ministry said the aircraft cooperated with the Russian navy ships deployed to the eastern Mediterranean.

Russia has conducted an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government since September 2015, turning the tide of the conflict in its favor. It also has kept a rotating group of warships near Syria's shores to support the air campaign.