US-led coalition airstrikes hit Syrian army positions by accident

Less than one week after a fragile ceasefire went into effect in war-torn Syria, the cessation of hostilities was threatened by the accidental bombing of Syrian army positions by American-led coalition air forces on Friday.

According to Syrian state news agency SANA, as many as 62 Syrian troops have been killed and over 100 were injured. 

“The United States has relayed our regret through the Russian Federation for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces,” a senior administration official told Fox News.

The Pentagon has said it will investigate the incident.

As stated by the Russian Ministry of Defense, the aircraft, two F-16 multi-role attack aircraft aided by two A-10 close-support fighters, entered Syrian airspace from neighboring Iraq and dropped ordinance over four separate runs on Syrian fortified positions in the al-Tharda Mountain in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.  It has been learned Royal Australian Air Force aircraft participated in the raid.

Blasting the error, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said:

“If the airstrike was caused by the wrong coordinates of targets than it’s a direct consequence of the stubborn unwillingness of the American side to coordinate with Russia in its actions against terrorist groups in Syria.”

Following the incident, the United States suspended its sorties.

Moscow immediately accused the U.S. of aiding the Islamic State, imperiling the Sept. 12 ceasefire and demanded the United Nations Security Council convene an emergency meeting.

Responding to the Russian accusation, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power told reporters:

“Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.”

The Syrian government has asked the UN to condemn Washington for the strike.

 

[Reuters] [RT News] [Photo courtesy Al Jazeera]