Thursday, 22 February, 2018

More than 100 Assad forces killed in US-backed attack

Syrian fighters and their trainers attend a graduation ceremony at the end of a US-led training program | Delil Souleiman  AFP via Getty Images Syrian fighters and their trainers attend a graduation ceremony at the end of a US-led training program | Delil Souleiman AFP via Getty Images
Lillian Steele | 12 February, 2018, 01:36

On Wednesday, the US-led coalition said it carried out several "defensive" airstrikes on Syrian forces in Deir EzZor province in retaliation for what they described as an "unprovoked" attack on the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and foreign military "advisers" who are backed by US.

The U.S. -led coalition in Syria has killed an estimated 100 pro-Assad fighters in air and artillery raids this week, including military contractors from Russian Federation, reports say.

The coalition's counter-attack killed more than 100 regime forces, Reuters reported, but a Syrian commander said that only seven were killed and 27 were injured.

The Air and artillery strikes from American and coalition forces happened in the eastern part of Syria in the middle of the Euphrates Valley which has for a long time been a non-official boundary for the two warring factions.

The US-led anti-ISIS coalition bombarded Syrian Arab Army and allied pro-government forces in the province of Deir Ezzor killing many army officers on the night of Wednesday to Thursday.

While Washington's mission is to finish off IS and ensure it does not return, the USA also has a stake in stabilizing swathes of Syria.

The US, on the other hand, attacked a Syrian pro-government patrol in the area, and killed in excess of 100 fighters in the attack.

This came after militants in adjacent Idlib province downed a Russian fighter jet and killed the pilot on February 3, the AP said, citing unconfirmed Turkish media reports.

However, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday: "That's not realistic".

"For some reason, pro-regime forces - and I can not give you any explanation for why they would do this - moved against SDF positions", he said. "We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of war in Syria, but the terrorists, I'm not sure they are in agreement". But the United States argues that if it were to pull out, a fight for control over these areas would ensue.

"Along with ground based fire support, these aircraft released multiple precision fire munitions and conducted strafing runs against the aggressor force, stopping their advance and destroying multiple artillery pieces and tanks", a spokesperson for U.S. Air Forces CENTCOM, told CNN.

The coalition's move was in retaliation for the pro-Syrian government forces' targeting of the US-backed forces in the area, said the SDF.

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