US-led airstrikes kill Syrian soldiers, Russia calls UN meeting
U.S.-led coalition airstrikes killed dozens of Syrian soldiers on Saturday, Russia and a monitoring group said, putting a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire in jeopardy and prompting Moscow to seek an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting.
The United States military said the coalition stopped the airstrike against what it had believed to be Islamic State positions in northeast Syria after Russia informed it that Syrian military personnel and vehicles may have been hit.
A U.S. military official said he was “pretty sure” targets mistakenly hit in the coalition strikes were Syrian forces.
Russia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after the airstrikes.
“We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world: That the White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying.
She said the strikes threatened to undermine the ceasefire in Syria brokered by Russia, which has been aiding Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war, and the United States, which has backed some rebel groups.
The Russian Defense Ministry said U.S. jets had killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers in four airstrikes by two F-16s and two A-10s coming from the direction of Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group with contacts across the country, cited a military source at Deir al-Zor airport as saying that at least 80 Syrian soldiers had been killed.
The ceasefire, which took effect on Monday, is the most significant peacemaking effort in Syria for months but has been undermined by repeated accusations of violations on both sides and by a failure to bring humanitarian aid to besieged areas.Read More