Moscow lashed out at the US this morning, after the US-led coalition in Syria carried out several “defensive” airstrikes against Syrian forces allied with President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province – purportedly in retaliation for what the coalition said was an “unprovoked” attack on the US-backed left-wing rebel group.
In response, during a closed door meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, Russian UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya reminded his colleagues that the US presence in Syria is “actually illegal.” “Nobody invited them there,” Nebenzya stated, emphasizing that the coalition’s actions were jeopardizing the region’s hard-fought stability.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Syrian militia was advancing against a “sleeper cell” of Islamic State terrorists near the former oil processing plant of al-Isba, when the unit was suddenly fired upon by air strikes. At least 25 militiamen were injured in the attack, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, adding that pro-government troops targeted by the coalition did not coordinate their operation with the Russian command.
The US, however, maintains that the militia attacked the SDF. The Pentagon said Syrian forces moved “in a battalion-sized unit formation, supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars.” The battle, which lasted over three hours, according to the US, began after 30 artillery tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF unit’s location, according to RT
“At the start of the unprovoked attack on Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition advisers, coalition aircraft, including F-22A Raptors and MQ-9B Reapers, were overhead providing protective overwatch, defensive counter air and [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] support as they have 24/7 throughout the fight to defeat ISIS,” Air Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart told Military.com.
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