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Russia denies striking U.S backed militia in Syria


Moscow –   The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday denied a media report that Russian warplanes had struck U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led militia in the vicinity of a gas field in Syria.

“The operation of Syrian troops aimed to destroy the last IS stronghold in Deir al-Zour.

“Russian Air Force planes carried out precision air strikes against terrorist facilities after receiving intelligence confirmed via several channels,’’ spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

He said that the strikes were carried out against identified Islamic State (IS) firing points and the terrorist reinforcements advancing from the rear areas.

Earlier on Monday, media agency reported that Russian warplanes had struck the positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir al-Zour province bordering Iraq in eastern Syria, near a natural gas field they had seized from IS recently.

The agency quoted the SDF as saying that the attack killed one of its fighters and injured two others.

According to Konashenkov, Russian drones and other reconnaissance means operating round the clock in the Deir al-Zour area did not register any clashes with SDF militants, traces of explosions or bomb hits.

“The Russian Defense Ministry has published absolutely objective and specific evidence.

“These include images from the aerial photographic survey, which directly proved the deployment and free movement of SDF militants and U.S. Special Forces in the referred-to areas,’’ he said.

Recently, Washington accused Moscow of bombing SDF positions on the eastern side of the Euphrates River.

Moscow denied this and said Syrian troops and Russian forces came under fire from SDF positions, warning the U.S that it would retaliate if the shelling was repeated.

Russia and the U.S.-led coalition are backing separate offensives against IS with both advancing in oil-rich Deir al-Zour.

According to the news agency, Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, has denied that Washington was racing with Moscow over Deir al-Zour.

“Contacts were increasing to avoid confrontation,’’ he said. (Xinhua/NAN)

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