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U.S. Says Russia, Not Coalition, Killed Syrian Troops


U.S. officials says Russian bombs, not U.S.-led coalition air strikes, killed Syrian government troops in eastern Syria.

Syria on December 7 accused the U.S.-led coalition that's fighting the Islamic State (IS) group of targeting an army camp in Deir al-Zor province, killing three soldiers and wounding 13.

But U.S. military officials said radar images showed that the strikes were carried out by 12 TU-22M3 Backfire bombers that were deployed from Russia's Mozdok military base in North Ossetia.

"Russia conducted long-range bomber strikes" in the Deir al-Zor area on December 6, one U.S. official said. "We are not at war with the Assad regime and have no reason to target the Syrian Army."

Spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said the only strikes the coalition carried out in the area December 6 were on an oil well about 100 kilometers southeast of the army base.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed there an air strike on the Syrian government base in an area where regime forces are fighting IS militants.

It said the strikes were "believed" to have been carried out by coalition aircraft.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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