Alwaght- Russia says US-led coalition’s attack on pro-government forces in Syria has again proven that Washington is pursuing Syria's resources and has no interest in fighting terrorism.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has made the comment in reference to an incident which took place on Tuesday in Deir ez-Zor province, during an operation by pro-government forces against a “sleeper cell” of ISIS terrorist group. The operation was prompted by a surge in shelling of the positions of Syrian government forces in the area over the past few days, attributed to the covert activities of ISIS terrorists, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
A unit of the pro-government militia was conducting a reconnaissance search mission on February 7 near the former oil processing plant of al-Isba. While there, “the militiamen came under a surprise mortar and MRLS shelling, and were attacked by helicopters of the US-led ‘international coalition.”
As a result, 25 members of the pro-government unit were injured. Initial media reports, citing unnamed US officials, suggested that some 100 Syrian soldiers had died in the assault by the coalition forces.
The US Central Command earlier called the attack on Syrian militiamen “self-defense,” claiming that the troops allegedly launched an “unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] headquarters.”
The US version of events, however, raises “lots of questions,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.
The case exposes a greater problem, however, as according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the attack by the coalition “once again proved that the true goal of the continuous illegal presence of US forces in Syria is already not the fight against ISIS international terrorist group, but the capture and control of the economic assets belonging solely to the Syrian Arab Republic.”
The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led coalition’s presence on its soil, calling it an act of blatant aggression and violation of the country’s sovereignty.
Damascus has also urged the UN to press the US to leave, especially following the successful defeat of the main IS forces. The US, however, has stated that it may remain in Syria indefinitely to counter what it describes as Iranian influence and to secure “post-Assad leadership” for the country.