Russia ‘concerned’ by US-led air strikes on Syrian regime

Russia has said it is ‘seriously concerned’ by air strikes targeting Syrian regime allegedly carried out by US-led coalition

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

RAF Typhoons fly over RAF Akrotiri, southern Cyprus December 3, 2015.

The Russian government has said it is "seriously concerned" over air strikes allegedly carried out by the US-led coalition that hit Syrian regime forces on Sunday, killing three soldiers.

"Moscow is seriously concerned over reports that on Dec. 6 the US-led coalition made an air strike on Syrian governmental positions in the Deir al Zor area," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the air strike hit part of the Saeqa camp in eastern Syria’s Deir al Zor province, which is largely under the control of the DAESH terror organisation.

The air strike also reportedly left 14 regime troops injured, SOHR said, adding that a number of vehicles belonging to the regime forces had been destroyed.

After the incident, the Syrian regime issued a condemnation, defining it as an “act of aggression.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent letters to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council,” the regime’s foreign ministry said.

However, US President Barack Obama's special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter DAESH, Brett McGurk, denied the incident on Monday on his Twitter account, saying there had been "No coalition strikes within 55km of claimed incident on Syrian base in Deir al Zor."

The US-led Combined Joint Task Force also denied responsibility, saying all four air strikes in the region on Sunday had only targeted oil wells at a distance of 35 miles from the camp.

“We did not strike any vehicles or personnel targets in this area … We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were even near our strikes,” the statement said.

On the other hand, a US military official speaking on the condition of anonymity said that there are indications that an air strike was carried out by a Russian TU-22 bomber in the area.

“We’ve got a radar track showing a Backfire bomber flying directly over the town that the Syrians named a few minutes before the first claims that we killed some Syrian troops,” the official claimed.

Russia, the main ally of the Syrian regime, launched a campaign of air strikes in support of Bashar al Assad’s forces on September 30.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said it was concerned about "the consequences of an air strike on erroneous targets... in Hasakah province that led to a significant number of casualties among civilians.”

Besides Russia, the US, the UK and France have also been conducting air strikes targeting the DAESH terrorist group, which took advantage of the power vacuum in Syria arising from the civil war to seize control of swathes of territory.

However, the death toll of civilians in such air strikes is also proving to be a cause for concern, with hundreds having lost their lives in the parallel operations being carried out by Russia and the US-led coalition.

TRTWorld and agencies