US Airstrikes Kill 100 Russian and Syrian Fighters, Reports Say
12 February, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Regina Lloyd
The US-led coalitionsaid Thursday it killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters to fend off an attack on its allies in eastern Syria, in one its deadliest confrontations yet with forces backing Damascus.
Regime forces operating Russian-made T-55 and T-72 tanks fired 20-30 tank rounds within 500 feet of the SDF base, where some USA troops were embedded, according to Pentagon press secretary Dana W. White.
No uniformed Russian soldiers were killed in the USA -coalition strike on Deir Ezzor, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statementcited by Interfax on Thursday.
A ministry statement said that the USA strike wounded 25 Syrian pro-regime fighters it said were searching for militants near an oil refinery.
Hundreds of pro-regime fighters are reported to have taken part in the attack, which is believed to have left one SDF member injured. About 100 of the attackers were killed, the official said.
He reported that Russian officials said they wouldn't engage coalition forces in the area of the attack. The head of the Britain-based monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, said the aim of the attack appeared to be the capture of a key oil field and a major gas plant in an SDF-held area.
Moscow has reminded Washington that its presence in Syria is illegal after the US-led coalition struck pro-government popular forces.
Russian, Turkish, and Iranian leaders reportedly planned to meet to discuss Syrian peace efforts.
"The military goal is to defeat ISIS in Syria", White said.
Syria, meanwhile, has gone to the UN Security Council to complain over the United States massacre of what were apparently members of a pro-government militia that had been fighting ISIS, and was at the time of the attack engaged in a search-and-rescue operation.
SDF and Syrian forces control areas on both side of the River Euphrates in Deir al-Zour province.
She said that Americans were in contact with Russians even after the attack. "The Coalition remains committed to focusing on the defeat-Daesh mission in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self-defense". "The incident was caused by uncoordinated reconnaissance and search operations plans of the Syrian militias with the Russian command task force in the locality of Salhiyah".
The Syrian foreign ministry said it wrote to the United Nations, saying the US -led strikes Wednesday night are "a war crime and crime against humanity" and asked for worldwide condemnation for the attacks. Now that the common goal of clearing out IS militants from Syria is nearly realized, Damascus and its allies have repeatedly threatened war against USA troops if they don't leave the country. The US also shot down a pro-regime drone after it dropped a munition in the vicinity of US troops in Syria.
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