Russian MoD Denies Pentagon Allegations It Hit US-Backed Rebels in Syria

Russian MoD Denies Pentagon Allegations It Hit US-Backed Rebels in Syria
Sputnik/ Dmitriy VinogradovMiddle East13:23 17.09.2017(updated 13:47 17.09.2017) Get short URL243070

The Russian Defense Ministry denied on Sunday the Pentagon’s allegations that Russian jets had attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor.

Russian aircraft in Syria target only the positions of the terrorist group Daesh, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, comenting on the claims that Russia bombed a target near Deir ez-Zor knowing that the SDF units and US-coalition advisers were there.

Konashenkov noted that Russia has been conducting the operation along with Syrian forces in the Deir ez-Zor area for a week, adding that the US was notified of it in advance.

“To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian forces in Syria gave the US partners an advance notice, through an existing communications channel, on the [territorial] borders within which the military operation in Deir Ez-Zor would be conducted,” Konashenkov said.

The spokesman reiterated that Russia carries out its operations based on reconnaissance information that is usually verified through several channels.

Konashenkov added that the Russian intelligence services had discovered no clashes between Daesh fighters and any armed representatives of “third parties” on the eastern bank of the Euphrates in the last few days.

The news comes after reports that at least six SDF fighters were injured in a an air force attack in eastern Syria on Saturday.

Moscow has repeatedly claimed that decisions about the airstrikes in Syria are made only after thorough verification of the intelligence data. Since the start of the Russian aerial campaign the West has been accusing Moscow of targeting so-called moderate opposition factions in Syria and civilians. Russia and Syria have continuously refuted these allegations.