USA denies report of coalition airstrike on Syria

Saul Bowman
June 19, 2018

A commander in the alliance fighting alongside Damascus told Reuters that drones that were "probably American" had bombed the positions of Iraqi factions between Albu Kamal and Tanf, as well as Syrian military positions.

"Thirty-eight non-Syrian fighters from regime loyalist militias were killed in the night-time raid on Al-Hari, on the Syrian-Iraqi border", said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian state TV is reporting that the USA -led coalition has struck a military position in the country's east, leaving several troops dead and wounded, allegations denied by a US official.

There are unconfirmed reports there were also Hezbollah and Iranian forces at the military base.

A spokesman for the coalition was not immediately available.

Syrian troops and allied militias, backed by Russian airstrikes, have been conducting operations west of the Euphrates River, while the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia, is operating on the eastern banks.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition said it was looking into the reports, but insisted that there had been no strikes by its forces in the Albu Kamal area.

"At 22:00 last night a US plane hit a fixed headquarters of the Popular Mobilisation Forces' 45th and 46th brigades defending the border strip with Syria, using two guided missiles which led to the martyrdom of 22 fighters", it said in a statement.

A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters and Russia-supported regime forces are carrying out separate operations against those IS-held pockets, and even Iraqi warplanes have occasionally bombed IS positions in Syria's east. "We're looking into who that could possibly be, but it wasn't the United States or the coalition".

Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province, while the SDF are battling to expel IS from a string of villages on the river's eastern banks near the Iraqi border.

The UK-based war monitor said the strikes killed 40 people.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier that almost 40 foreign fighters allied to Syria's regime were killed in the raid in eastern Syria.

The only remaining major pockets of militants are found in the US-protected zones of 'interest.' In addition to the coalition's air support, over 2,000 United States soldiers are embedded with the SDF in the northeast, as well around Al-Tanf base, established not far from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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