Led coalition hits pro-Assad fighters' convoy

19 Mai, 2017, 23:22 | Author: Claudine Rigal

"Whatever the reason for the USA strike was, it was illegitimate and marked another flagrant violation of Syria's sovereignty", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on a trip to Cyprus.

"We notified the coalition that we were being attacked by the Syrian army and Iranians in this point and the coalition came and destroyed the advancing convoy", Muzahem al Saloum, from the Maghawir al Thwra group, said, according to Reuters.

"On Thursday at 4.30pm, the so-called global coalition attacked one of the Syrian Arab Army's positions on the Al-Tanf road in the Syrian Badia region, producing a number of martyrs and causing material damage", a military source told Syrian state media.

US-led coalition aircraft Thursday struck a pro-regime convoy apparently transporting Shia militiamen in Syria as it headed toward a remote coalition garrison near the Jordanian border, USA defense officials said.

US officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.

The strike took place a few miles from the armed opposition rebel base in the town of al-Tanf, where American and British special forces are training rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad.

That strike was in response to a sarin gas attack against civilians USA officials say was carried out by forces loyal to Assad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday slammed the recent "illegitimate" US-led coalition's strike against pro-Syrian government forces.

"We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops", James Mattis, the U.S. defence secretary, said on Thursday when asked about the attack.

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Coalition officials said Russian forces had apparently unsuccessfully tried to dissuade the pro-regime movement south.

According to Jacques, while the US hit a Syrian tank and two bulldozers, the convoy has still not fully retreated from the deconfliction zone.

Thirteen of the vehicles apparently breached the "de-confliction zone" around the base, an area that the coalition has communicated to Moscow to stay well clear of.

Assad condemned that USA strike on a Syrian airfield as "reckless", "irresponsible" and "short-sighted". The deconfliction zone in southern Syria was established "where the United States, Jordan and Israel are eager to prevent Iranian-backed groups, especially Hezbollah, from expanding a foothold".

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said there is an agreement between Syria, Russia and Iran about pushing ahead in the fight against IS in the desert toward the Iraqi border.

"It is utterly unacceptable and a violation of Syria's sovereignty", Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that 52 people were killed in the fighting, with the dead including 15 civilians, 27 Syrian soldiers and 10 unidentified people.

Opposition spokesman Salem Meslet says talks are focusing on "the constitutional ground for a political transition process based on the formation of a body with full executive powers".

"Again and again we see the desire and confirmation of this desire as for the deployment of oppositionists and some extremists, including from Jabhat al-Nusra, to fight against the legitimate government of Syria", Lavrov said commenting on the USA strike.

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