After the United States and "Coalition" aircraft attacked Syrian Army positions "by mistake" - which killed 62 and injured over 100 Syrian Soldiers - Russia says the next mistake will be the pilot's last, as new Rules of Engagement are now in effect.
Two days ago, on 17 September, US-led coalition jets bombed Syrian government forces’ positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, killing 62 troops and "paving the way" for Islamic State militants, the Syrian Army General Command told the state television.
The bombing took place on al-Tharda Mountain in the region of Deir ez-Zor and caused casualties and destruction on the ground, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported on Saturday.
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Sixty-two Syrian soldiers were killed and over 100 injured in the airstrike by the US-led coalition, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said, citing information received from the Syrian General Command.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the aircraft which carried out the bombings had entered Syrian airspace from the territory of Iraq.
Four strikes against Syrian positions was performed by two F-16 jet fighters and two A-10 support aircraft, it added.
“If the airstrike was caused by the wrong coordinates of targets than it’s a direct consequence of the stubborn unwillingness of the American side to coordinate with Russia in its actions against terrorist groups in Syria,” Konashenkov stressed.
The Defense Ministry also confirmed a report by SANA that an Islamic State offensive began right after Syrian Army positions were hit from the air.
"Immediately after the airstrike by coalition planes, Islamic State militants launched their offensive. Fierce fighting with the terrorists is currently underway in the area of the airport where for a long a time humanitarian aid for civilians was parachuted,” Konashenkov said.
The timing of the ISIS attack, coming within 7 minutes of the US air strikes against the Syrian Army, has led some to conclude the US is providing air cover for ISIS Terrorists!
The Syrian General Command called the bombing a “serious and blatant aggression” against Syrian forces, and said it was "conclusive evidence" that the US and its allies support IS militants.
According to a news release of the US Department of Defense, the coalition’s aviation performed combat missions in Deir ez-Zor on Saturday.
“We are aware of the reports and checking with Centcom and CJTF (Combined Joint Task Force),” the Pentagon told RT.
The US Central Command later has issued a statement, saying that it had no intention of targeting Syrian government forces near Deir ez-Zor.
“Syria is a complex situation with various military forces and militias in close proximity, but [the] coalition would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit,” the statement read.
CENTCOM promised that the strike and circumstances surrounding it will be reviewed “to see if any lesson can be learned.”
An unnamed US military official told Reuters that he was "pretty sure" that the targets hit in US-led coalition air strike on Saturday had been Syrian forces.
According to the official, the bombings in Deir ez-Zor were carried out using US intelligence, which was being gathered for days.
The US says its attack stopped as soon as Russia notified the American side that they had been hitting the Syrian military, he added. But that does not fit the facts.
According to both Russian and Syrian Army reports, the American jets were repeatedly told they were attacking the wrong side but continued attacking until aircraft were "painted" by Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. It was only after the surface-to-air missile locked-on to the aircraft that they cut off the attack.
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