First Published: 2017-05-19

Syria, allies condemn attack by US-led coalition
Syria, Russia condemn 'brazen attack' on convoy of pro-regime fighters as tensions grow between rival forces in Syria's east.
Middle East Online

US is looking ahead to the endgame in the battle against IS jihadists

DAMASCUS - Syria on Friday condemned a US-led coalition strike on pro-government forces as a "brazen attack" and said it would "not be intimidated" after the surprise assault.

Russia condemned the strike as "illegitimate" and said it could harm efforts to fight Islamic State group (IS) jihadists.

US-led warplanes carried out Thursday's strike in the east of the country against a convoy of pro-government forces headed towards a remote coalition garrison near the border with Jordan.

"On Thursday at 16:30, the so-called international coalition attacked one of the Syrian Arab Army's positions on the Al-Tanf road in the Syrian Badia region, producing a number of martyrs and causing material damage," a military source told Syrian state media.

"This brazen attack by the so-called international coalition exposes the falseness of its claims to be fighting terrorism," it added.

"The Syrian Arab Army is fighting terrorism on its territory, and no party has the right to determine the course of its operations," the source said.

"The Syrian Arab Army will... not be intimidated by the attempts of the so-called coalition to stop it from performing its sacred duties."

Syrian ally Russia also denounced the US-led strike.

"It is illegitimate, unlawful and yet another gross violation of Syria's sovereignty," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in televised comments while on a trip to Cyprus.

In a statement, the US-led coalition said it had struck "pro-regime forces... that posed a threat to US and partner forces."

The coalition said the strike came after unsuccessful "Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement" as well as "a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shots."

Lavrov said he was "unaware" that Russia had been given any warning of the strike, and said preliminary information suggested there were civilian casualties.

"We are still confirming the details but according to some reports several dozen civilians died as a result of this strike," he was reported as saying by Russian media.

Syrian state media gave no precise toll in the attack, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported eight killed, "most of them non-Syrian".

A statement from Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East, said two strikes "destroyed two front-end loaders, a piece of construction equipment, a tactical vehicle and a tank".

An array of regular and irregular forces are battling alongside the government against rebels, including Russian and Iranian soldiers and militants from Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah group.

Thursday's strike comes in the context of growing tension over which forces will take on IS in Syria's east.

President Bashar al-Assad's army is trying to prevent US-backed forces from leading that fight.

 

At least 235 killed in Egypt mosque attack

Saudi Crown Prince calls Iran supreme leader 'new Hitler'

Syrian opposition agrees to send united delegation to Geneva talks

Saudi-led coalition clears passenger flights to Sanaa

Baghdad's Shabandar cafe marks century since opening

Turkey says Trump pledged to stop arming Kurds

Turkey president sues main opposition party leader

Lebanon's Hariri brings status quo back with him

Activists say 'everybody knew' about Libya slave trade

Erdogan says no contact 'at the moment' with Assad

Lebanon's Jumblatt criticises Saudi Arabia, Iran

China says it will make efforts on Syria reconstruction

Turkey to detain 79 former teachers in post-coup probe

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home