US Coalition Bombs Syrian Army, Enhances Terrorists in Palmyra - Russian MoD
16:48 09.06.2017(updated 21:50 09.06.2017)
The Russian Defense Ministry accused the US-led coalition of bombing the Syrian army, letting Daesh terrorists escape encirclement and enhancing terrorists in Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor.
The Russian General Staff said that the US-led coalition only hinders the Syrian army's advance against Daesh terrorists by conducting strikes on pro-Damascus forces near al-Tanf in southern Syria.
On June 8, the US-led coalition bombed pro-Damascus forces near al-Tanf in the area of a deconfliction zone following an alleged attack by a combat drone resulting in no coalition forces' casualties. This was the third attack by the coalition on Damascus' allies in the area. The coalition targeted a drone and trucks with weapons.
"We see that coalition's actions only prevents the government forces from defeating Daesh terrorists," chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said.
According to him, Russian military sees no significant results of the coalition's fight against terrorism and called it on to focus on counterterror fight instead of bombing the Syrian army. The Russian General Staff urged the coalition to avoid striking Syrian army's positions in the future.
"While declaring its aim as the fight against international terrorism, the coalition carries out strikes against Syrian troops, lets Daesh militants out of encirclement areas, thus, strengthening terrorist units near Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor."
The Russian General Staff said that the Syrian army's advance in the south of the country was countered by the coalition's aviation which violates sovereign right of Syria to guard the country's borders.
"During the offensive, [Syrian] government troops faced opposition from the aviation of the US-led international coalition. The US [forces] delivered absolutely groundless ultimatum to the Syrian army so that it would not approach the positions of the so-called 'New Syrian army'. They motivate their actions by absurd claims that government forces pose a threat to US bases and camps for training of opposition fighters in southern Syria," Commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria Col. Gen. Sergey Surovikin said.
Rudskoy said that claims of the Syrian army's alleged threat to US bases and Syrian rebels' training camps are "absurd."
He said it seems that Washinghton used the fight against terrorism as a pretext to hinder the advance of the Syrian government troops.
"At the moment, we are seeing that the actions of the [US-led] coalition only hamper the destruction of Daesh units by the [Syrian] government forces," Rudskoy said.
"The government forces with support from Russian Russian Aerospace Forces are not fighting Syrian opposition, but are consistently striving to achieve their main goal of destroying Daesh, al-Nusra Front and affiliated terrorist groups."
The Russian military added that instead of fighting terrorists, the US-led coalition along with the Syrian opposition reach agreements with them so that the terrorists leave the territories under their control and attack the areas controlled by Damascus.
"Instead of destroying the terrorists guilty of killing hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilians, the US-led coalition together with the Syrian Democratic Forces… conspire with Daesh leaders for them to peacefully surrender the settlements they control and relocate to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are actively engaged."
"[US-led] coalition aircraft and strongholds of the New Syrian Army militants blocked the path of [Syria's] government forces that are carrying out the task of defeating units and in the course of their advance are providing control, placing frontier posts on the border with Iraq – to the north-east of At Tanf to Abu Kamal. This is a violation of the sovereign right of the Syrian Arab Republic to protect its borders."
On May 18, the US-led coalition struck pro-Assad fighters near the town of al-Tanf in the area of an established deconfliction zone with Russia. The coalition strikes occurred near al-Tanf, where US' and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters near the border with Iraq and Jordan. Russia slammed the move as a violation of international law.
On June 6, the Pentagon announced the coalition conducted a new strike on pro-Syrian government forces as they entered the de-confliction zone with Russia and posed threat to its personnel. The force comprised of a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers. A Syrian source told Sputnik on Tuesday that at least two Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 15 injured as a result of the coalition attack.
The United States and Russia signed the bilateral memorandum of understanding in October 2015 to ensure their flight safety during combat missions over Syria.
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