Dozens of Syrian soldiers killed in coalition strikes near Deir ez-Zor

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Members of the Syrian regime's army stand next to dead bodies of militants in Deir ez-Zor. File photo

ARA News

DEIR EZZOR At least 60 Syrian army soldiers were killed and about 100 more were injured in airstrikes by the anti-ISIS coalition in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province, officials said on Sunday.

The US-led coalition conducted four airstrikes on the Deir ez-Zor military airport, that has been besieged by militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) for months. 

“However, a Syrian army unit is still inside the airbase. The coalition’s strikes hit the army positions instead of ISIS,” Syrian army officer Firas Salloum told ARA News in Deir ez-Zor.

The official said that the strikes caused heavy losses in the army’s manpower and equipment. “This could eventually enable ISIS to take over the airbase,” he said.

In the meantime, the Russian army said in a statement that 60 Syrian regime’s forces were killed and 100 more were injured, blaming the US-led coalition for the attack.

Moscow has also called on the western coalition to increase cooperation and coordination with its forces during the anti-ISIS raids in Syria. 

The Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a statement by the Syrian army describing the strikes as “a clear evidence that the US and its allies support ISIS terrorists in Syria”.

However, local activists in Deir ez-Zor reported that the coalition strikes on Saturday also killed dozens of ISIS militants.    

Speaking to ARA News, media activist Muhammad Mardoud said: “ISIS militants tightened their siege on the Deir ez-Zor military airport. The fist airstrike by the US-led coalition hit an ISIS position outside the airbase, causing casualties in ISIS ranks. The other strikes hit inside the airport, where pro-Assad army forces were based, killing and wounding  dozens of them.”

“We believe it was not the coalition’s intention to target the regime’s troops inside the airbase,” Mardoud said. “This is the first time for the US-led coalition to bomb a position for the regime army, but the Assad regime and Russia want to exploit the situation to oblige the western coalition to cooperate with them in the anti-ISIS campaign.”

Reporting by: Sadraddin Kino

Source: ARA News

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