“Many people” have been killed in the recent clash between Russian and US troops in Syria, US President Donald Trump said during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 18.
“We had a very, very severe… fight in Syria recently, a month ago, with our troops and Russian troops. It is very sad but many people died in that fight,” Trump said providing no further details.
There have been no official reports or even “rumors” on clashes between US and Russian troops in Syria. However, in February, rumors appeared that the US-led strikes against Syrian government forces allegedly led to some casualties among the Russian private military contractors deployed in Syria.
Most likeley, Trump refered to these rumors.
On April 12, Mike Pompeo, CIA director nominated to be US State Secretary, already used this rumor to get an approval of the Congress.
During the April 18 press conference, the US President added that “There has been nobody tougher on Russia than President Donald Trump”.
“With the media, no matter what I did, it is never tough enough, because that is their narrative. But Russia will tell you there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump … We will do sanctions as soon as they very much deserve it…” he said.
Trump’s statement was likely a respponse to another version of the events promoted by some of its political opponents. On April 18, Senator Robert Menendez said the US-led strikes on Syria may have been “choreographed” with Russia.
“… you have a strike against three facilities, the Russians don’t activate their defense missiles against us, the Syrians shoot their missiles after our missiles land. And you wonder, wait a minute, was this a choreographed kabuki show?” Menendez said.