Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) released a statement on the bombing of the US-backed New Syrian Army militant group. The Russian MoD says that the Russian Aerospace Forces conduct air strikes against groups not separated from terrorist formations and not aligned to the ceasefire. Meanwhile, the US can not provide direct information about “coordinates of regions of activity of opposition controlled by the US.”
Units of the so-called “New Syrian Army”, targeted by Russian warplanes, were “located more than 300 km far from borders of territories claimed by the American party as ones controlled by the opposition joined the ceasefire regime”.
We remember earlier there were reports that Russian warplanes have started to hit Pentagon-backed militants in Syria.
Russian warplanes hit Pentagon-backed Syrian fighters with a barrage of airstrikes earlier this week, disregarding several warnings from U.S. commanders in what American military officials called the most provocative act since Moscow’s air campaign in Syria began last year.
The strikes hit a base near the Jordanian border, far from areas where the Russians were previously active, and targeted U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State militants.
These latest strikes occurred on the other side of the country from the usual Russian operations, around Tanf, a town near where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.
The Russian strike hit a small rebel base for staging forces and equipment in a desolate, unpopulated area near the border. About 180 rebels were there as part of the Pentagon’s program to train and equip fighters against Islamic State.
When the first strikes hit, the rebels called a U.S. command center in Qatar, where the Pentagon orchestrates the daily air war against Islamic State.
According to reports, 2 US-backed militants were killed and 18 wounded by Russian air strikes.
The Russian MoD’s statement:
On June 18 Russia and US held teleconference on implementing the Memorandum on preventing aerial incidents in Syria
Due to appeal of the American party, representatives of the Russian an US defence departments held videoconference on implementing the Memorandum on preventing incidents while performing military operations in the airspace of Syria dating October 20, 2015.
The American party has informed the Russian one about alleged premeditated strike by the Russian Aerospace Forcers on detachments of the Syrian opposition in the south of Syria on June 16, 2016 in despite of appeals of the US.
Representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry explained that the object, which had suffered bombardment, was located more than 300 km far from borders of territories claimed by the American party as ones controlled by the opposition joined the ceasefire regime.
The Russian Aerospace Forces operated within the agreed procedures and forewarned member states of the US-led coalition about the ground targets to strike on. The American party has not presented coordinates of regions of activity of opposition controlled by the US. This caused impossibility to correct actions of the Russian aviation.
Therefore, actions by the Russian party have been carried out in strict observance of the Joint Russian-American statement and the Memorandum.
Moreover, within last few months, the Russian defence department has been suggesting compiling a joint map with actual information about location of forces active in Syria. However, there has been no significant progress reached.
The parties exchanged their opinions in a constructive manner. They were aimed at strengthening cooperation in fighting against terrorist formations in Syria and preventing all incidents while performing military operations in the territory of Syria.