Sunday, 17 September 2017

Syria war: Russia's defence ministry denies hitting SDF force in Deir al-Zour

Russia's defence ministry has denied allegations its planes struck US-backed fighters in Syria on Saturday.

The ministry said its air force only targeted Islamic State militants.

It was responding to claims by the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab groups, that six of its fighters were wounded in Russian strikes in eastern Syria.

The SDF is moving towards the city of Deir al-Zour, which pro-government forces, backed by Russian forces, are meanwhile trying to recapture from IS.

On Saturday the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that in the early hours of that day "our forces east of the Euphrates River were targeted by Russian and Syrian regime warplanes".
But on Sunday Russian defence ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said Russian planes had only carried out carefully targeted strikes against IS in Deir al-Zour province.

He added that the military had given the US, which supports the SDF, advance notice about its operation.

"To avoid unnecessary escalation, the commanders of Russian forces in Syria used an existing communications channel to inform our American partners in good time," Gen Konashenkov said.

BBC    News.