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Russia Presses Claim Belgian Air Strike Killed Six Syrian Villagers

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov

The Russian military has continued to press its claim that a Belgian air strike killed six Syrian villagers despite Belgium's demand for a retraction.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on October 20 that Russia has radar evidence that two Belgian F-16 fighter jets struck the Kurdish village of Hassajek near Syria's border with Turkey on October 18.

But the Belgian Defense Ministry dismissed the evidence Russia offered as "totally groundless and unsubstantiated" and demanded a "formal retraction."

Belgium had summoned the Russian ambassador over the incident and said he provided no new proof in a "disappointing" hour-long meeting on October 20.

But Konashenkov said that Russian radar tracked the Belgian jets from the moment they took off from a base in Jordan and offered a highly detailed description of their mission over Syria.

Konashenkov said Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput was "either deliberately misleading the Belgian and global public, or his subordinates along with their American counterparts were deceiving the Belgian leadership.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, TASS, and Interfax