Scores of Russians killed by USA in Syria

14 Febrero, 2018, 16:39 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Syrian pro-government members hold a position as they stand on the back of an armoured vehicle in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor

Reports in Russian media have said Wagner - a shadowy organization known as Russia's answer to Blackwater - was hired by Assad or his allies to guard Syrian energy assets in exchange for oil concessions.

The incident appears to be the first publicly known case of the US military firing on and killing Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian says the drone saw the tank "that took a shot at us", and that he believes the USA rules of engagement allowed for the tank to be destroyed in self-defense to protect the drone. Three people within were killed. "We don't have data about other Russians who could be in Syria".

Pro-Assad fighters approached the US-held base in a "battalion-sized formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars" on 7 February, Col Thomas F Veale, a spokesman for the United States military, said in a statement.

The officials said the US was puzzled because proper procedures had been followed - American forces used the deconfliction line to get Russia's go-ahead to defend coalition forces against the attackers.

THIS is the moment an American warplane locks on to a Russian tank in Syria and blows it to bits within an instant.

Russian forces are supporting the Syrian government in its war with opposition groups, some of which are backed by the United States. He called on Putin to report publicly about "the actions of Russian troops in Syria at present and the number of deaths of Russian citizens regardless of their military status".

Military.com says the drone attack was carried out in "self-defense" after forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fired at USA advisers and allied Syrian fighters.

Twitter posts announcing the deaths were found by the Conflict Intelligence Team.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the incident, in which the death toll of private Russian soldiers may have been five times greater than the Russian Defense Ministry's official count of servicemen who have died in Syria.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta said 13 Russians were killed in the attack and another 15 wounded.

The death of Russians under direct American, or at least US-led fire would seem a very serious matter.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis played down the incident, saying: "This could just be a local couple of guys doing something".

The officials also said it wasn't clear whose fighters made up the attacking force.

Mattis also doubted that the Russians control the situation in the region. One Syrian officer claimed that as many as 100 Russians were killed over two days of fighting, but the Kremlin has been slow to respond to such claims.

As the main global backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, Russian Federation has committed itself to aiding in the country's reconstruction. There were no coalition or SDF casualties, Dillon said.

One thing is clear both Mr Putin and U.S. officials will face pressure to be transparent about such clashes.

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