Syria wants United Nations to condemn U.S. 'massacre'

12 February, 2018, 01:37 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Syria wants United Nations to condemn U.S. 'massacre'

"After 20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location, Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the Coalition targeted the aggressors with a combination of air and artillery strikes", a US coalition statement said.

The local al-Masdar news reported that the engagement took place near the town of Khashim, a government-held stronghold on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River.

After being shelled by pro-regime tanks, rockets and artillery, U.S. troops were able to counterattack, with USA artillery and aircraft killing some 100 pro-regime fighters and forcing them to retreat across the Euphrates River, two U.S. military officials told CNN Wednesday.However, the attack, which U.S. officials assess to be aimed at capturing lucrative Syrian oil fields that US-backed forces captured from ISIS, underscores the diverse array of challenges the Trump administration faces as it seeks to ensure the long-term defeat of ISIS while simultaneously containing Iran's influence in the Middle East.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the administration's goals in Syria during a speech at the Hoover Institution in California last month, saying the U.S. wants to defeat ISIS and al Qaeda, help resolve the Syrian civil war, contain Iran's influence in Syria, help Syrian refugees return home and ensure that Syria is free of weapons of mass destruction.

The coalition's counter-attack killed more than 100 regime forces, Reuters reported, but a Syrian commander said that only seven were killed and 27 were injured.

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Recently, a funeral was held at the town of Al-Suqaylabiyah for ten of the ISIS Hunters soldiers killed in the U.S. airstrikes - many of them were Christians.

According to Russia's Ministry of Defense, the advancing pro-regime forces had not coordinated with Russian officials in the area. "The incident was caused by uncoordinated reconnaissance and search operations plans of the Syrian militias with the Russian command task force in the locality of Salhiyah".

As part of that mission, the United States has armed and trained the SDF to combat ISIS.

Russia's Defense Ministry added in a statement that the American attack once "again showed that the U.S. is maintaining its illegal presence in Syria not to fight the Daesh group [ISIS], but to seize and hold Syrian economic assets".

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The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the US-led air strikes, accusing the U.S. war planes of "committing a massacre" against pro-government forces. During the US-backed siege of Raqqa and other formerly ISIS-occupied towns, the USA military and its Kurdish proxies organized the evacuation of large numbers of ISIS fighters and their redeployment to Deir Ezzor in order to turn them against the Syrian government forces advancing on the province's strategically vital oil and gas fields. "If a ceasefire is not reached and if there is no response", she added, "we can not imagine the scale of the humanitarian disaster that Eastern Ghouta will witness". A ministry statement said that the USA strike wounded 25 Syrian pro-regime fighters it said were searching for militants near an oil refinery. The visit came just one day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the American forces withdraw from Manbij, vowing that the Turkish military would extend its offensive into the city. The State Department issued a statement saying that the bombings "must stop now".

According to the Director of CARE's Syrian programme, "If the air strikes, explosions and clashes continue or escalate, we will be like a fire brigade which tries to put out the fire somewhere, while the second, third and fourth fires break out elsewhere".

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