US Forces Have Reportedly Killed Dozens Of Contract Russian Fighters In Syria

18 February, 2018, 07:10 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • US forces drive their armored vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah

Turkey's defense minister says he has asked his American counterpart that the United States end its support for Syrian Kurdish fighters and remove them from a US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, that if fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

A U.S. jet operating in Syria destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria, on Saturday, the Pentagon said. The pro-Assad forces were most likely trying to capture oilfields in the region that had been liberated from the Islamic State group in September 2017, the coalition had said last week.

The U.S. airstrike took place the same day an Iranian drone was shot down over Israel on Saturday, prompting a counter-attack by the Israeli Air Force into Syria against Iranian and regime targets. Days later, a United States jet destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank that had fired on U.S. and SDF forces, the Pentagon told Business Insider.

The incident came three days after the US-led coalition killed more than 100 forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad after shelling and using tanks to fire at the SDF and coalition advisors. CNN identified several of the slain Russians on Tuesday; they were portrayed as a mixture of mercenaries and "ultranationalists". "Coalition officials maintained regular contact with Russian counterparts via established de-confliction lines to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations that could endanger each other's forces".

The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov come after reports surfaced this week alleging that a number of Russian men fighting informally alongside the Syrian government were killed in clashes between the USA -led coalition and pro-government fighters who attacked a headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near the town of Khusham.

According to some Russian media, the United States strike was in response to an attack by a pro-Assad militia supported by Russian mercenaries on a gas field controlled by Arab and Kurdish forces allied with Washington.

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U.S. officials added that the Russian government had lodged no complaint about its citizens being killed.

The U.S. military has said it maintained contact with the Russian military in Syria before, during and after the February 7 clash. However, the dynamic nature of the field of battle can not be disputed by either side where troops from countries with conflicting interests often bump into each other increasing the chances of the escalation of an all-out war with each other.

The US has been training, equipping, and backing the SDF rebels in Syria's civil war for years as Russian Federation has provided similar assistance to forces loyal to the Syrian government in close proximity. Like many contractors who have gone to Syria, he was a member of a Cossack group of ultranationalists who have also fought in eastern Ukraine.

Pro-regime forces began advancing toward the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their US advisers near Al Tabiyeh, Syria, on Saturday, firing mortars and small-arms as they moved.

Much about the attack and the associated casualties has been obscured in the fog of war.

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The Russian Defense Ministry said its troops weren't involved in the operation.

"The organization's leaders have reportedly received awards in the Kremlin", the paper said, "and its mercenaries are trained at the Russian Defense Ministry's facilities".

The Russian Defense Ministry charged that the incident reflected a U.S. push to grab Syria's economic assets under the cover of fighting the Islamic State group. "We're going to do that first, defend ourselves appropriately", Harrigian said.

One of the Russians killed was Kirill Ananyev, according to his friend Aleksandr Averin.

In December a Russian business and political delegation visited Damascus to discuss investment and reconstruction with Assad, including oil and gas projects but also electricity, phosphates, transport and trade.

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